Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jun 2008
Source: Herald, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2008 The Herald.
Author: Janine Oelofse


THE SA Medical Association (Sama) has expressed support for the 
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, 
which saw a number of anti-drug marchers take to the streets in 
Plettenberg Bay yesterday.

Residents of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay gathered in KwaNokuthula 
yesterday morning and marched to a school in the main street to 
emphasise the importance of eradicating drug abuse and trafficking worldwide.

Sama said yesterday that a youth risk survey in 2002 had revealed 
that one in five pupils attempted suicide because of mental health 
problems caused, among other things, by substance abuse.

More than 10 per cent smoked cigarettes and 6,2% first tried smoking 
before the age of 10.

"The prevalence of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, kat, LSD and 
over-the-counter medications is a major concern," Sama said.

"The drug cartels have found our developing country a fertile ground 
to push illicit substances."

Another problem in South Africa was the misuse of pharmaceutical 
preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, 
which are sold by street vendors and healthcare providers without a 

"The government should address the problem, which has severe adverse 
consequences on the health of our population and social structures," 
Sama added.

The association said serious action was being taken by the government 
to avoid the detrimental effects on health of these substances, 
citing the soon-to-be-passed Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill.

It also praised a UN convention on narcotic drugs first drafted in 
1961 which extended the existing control systems to include the 
cultivation of plants grown as the raw material of narcotic drugs.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom