23 June 2014

Substance Abuse Awareness Day: 26 June 2014

Substance abuse is when people use drugs or alcohol to feel better or for fun, or to even relieve anxiety. It can however be harmful to one's body and mind.


Whether it is casual or social drinking, drug experimentation, or severe addictive behaviour (binge drinking and drug abuse) substance abuse can be harmful to your body, mind and other people.

It can cause interpersonal relationship problems with family and friends, work-related issues, financial difficulties and can even cause physical harm to your brain, heart, kidney and liver. It can even cause suicidal tendencies.

Substance abuse is when someone uses drugs or alcohol to feel better or for fun, or to even relieve anxiety. However, if these people are deprived of these substances, they can feel angry, irritable, or anxious. Such substances can be identified as drugs and alcohol, chemicals that change the way our body works. Examples are tobacco, snuff, dagga, mandrax, cocaine, and LSD, tik (meth), nyaope.

Read: Spotlight on substance abuse

Medications like cough syrup and pain killers, as well as everyday household substances like glue, turpentine, benzene, cooking spray and petrol are all drugs that people use to get high, and can become addicted to. Once someone is addicted to a drug or alcohol, life can be very difficult to manage and symptoms such as depression and anxiety are common.

Substance abuse is on the increase in South Africa and interventions, better education and more resources are needed.

On 26 June, Substance Abuse Awareness Day will aim to create an impact, and highlight the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse, The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) will be hosting over 40 Substance Abuse Support Group Talks across the country, particularly in the rural communities, with expert speakers, to help with awareness, education, prevention, and intervention information on substance abuse.

Read: Victimisation and substance abuse are linked

SADAG will also be hosting, two free one-hour LIVE chats on Facebook. The chats will be held on SADAG’s Facebook Page, on the 27th June at 1pm with psychologists Laila Paruk and Tasneen Mohamed, and then again at 7pm with psychologist and substance abuse expert Neil Amoore.

They will be helping family members, and parents identify possible symptoms of substance abuse and where to get help and treatment. Go to our website for more details and to log into the chat.

SADAG also has over 98 Substance Abuse Support Groups nationwide – to locate the nearest group to you, or if you want to find out more about the Substance Abuse events around the country, or if you are unable to log into the chat and need help, call the Substance Abuse24hr toll-free line at 0800 12 13 14 or SMS 32312 or visit the website

Read more:

New substance abuse helpline
Tighter substance abuse measures
Music, substance abuse linked


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