Substance abuse costs SA a whopping R136bn a year‚ study reveals

Dagga‚ over-the-counter medication and prescription drugs are the most abused substances in South Africa‚ the ugly face of problem that costs the country an estimated R136-billion a year.

This is revealed in a literature review on Drug and Substance Abuse amongst Youth and Young Women in South Africa‚ commissioned by the Soul City Institute for Social Justice which was released in Rosebank‚ Johannesburg‚ on Tuesday.

Bongiwe Ndondo‚ who conducted the study‚ said‚ “Generally‚ drug abuse is more pronounced among males than females. Outside of cannabis‚ over-the-counter and prescription drugs are the most abused substances among both males and females“.

She said substance abuse was a global challenge with “detrimental effects on health‚ wealth and security of nations“.

“South Africa had a serious drug usage problem‚ highlighted in the literature as being twice that of the global norm‚” Ndondo said.

The report reads in part: “In South Africa drug abuse has been associated with crime‚ interpersonal violence‚ risky sexual behaviour“.

It adds that South Africa has a serious drug usage problem‚ reported in literature as being twice that of the world norm according to a Central Drug Authority presentation to parliament on September 6‚ 2011.

The report further states that statistics reported by the United Nations World Drug Report of 2014 indicates that 7.06% of South Africa’s population “abuses narcotics of some kind‚ and one in every 14 people are regular users“.

“Substance abuse imposes social‚ health and economic costs on individuals‚ families‚ society and economy at large‚” says the report.

According to Ndondo‚ current information suggests that illegal drug consumption costs the South African economy 6.4% of GDP which is about R136 billion per year.

She said these costs included “treatment‚ social development‚ policing and education and awareness raising“.

— TMG Digital/SowetanLIVE

3 thoughts on “Substance abuse costs SA a whopping R136bn a year‚ study reveals

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  • November 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Incredible that alcohol was not included in this literature review, especially given that it is a drug and thanks to modern scientific research is now generally regarded as one of the most damaging and dangerous drugs of all, both to the individual and wider society.

    In fact alcohol abuse related issues cost our economy an estimated 7-10% of GDP, which equates to R165 – R236 billion per year, which is considerably more than that associated with the abuse of all illegal drugs and pharmaceutical drugs combined!

  • November 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Very misleading.

    A lion’s share of that “R136 billion a year” doesn’t come from any negative social or economic effects of drug use itself, but from the unethical and unnecessary drug prohibition policies we cling to despite their demonstrable failure both in South Africa and the world at large.


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