South Africa’s substance abuse helpline

Sadag and the Department of Social Development are launching a toll-free substance abuse helpline in an effort to increase access to help, support and appropriate treatment for substance users.

The Youth Risk Survey of 2002 revealed that 49% of teens use alcohol while 31% smoke cigarettes and 13% used dagga (cannabis). (Image: SADAG)

Brand South Africa Reporter

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has partnered with the Department of Social Development in launching a toll-free substance abuse helpline in an effort to increase access to help, support and appropriate treatment for substance users.

The toll-free helpline number is 0800 121314, while SMS’s can also be sent to 32312.

The launch in Johannesburg on Thursday coincided with the International Day Against Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – commemorated to raise awareness surrounding drugs and drug abuse – with this year’s event being themed “Do drugs control your life?”

Sadag project director Janine Shamos said that many people were marginalised or at risk due to their life-circumstances and were made more vulnerable through drug use.

“This line offers support, guidance and help for people addicted to drugs and alcohol as well as their families, no matter where they are in South Africa,” said Shamos.

She added that substance abuse was a major problem in the country and that users were getting younger all the time, and that there was the need for youth empowerment and for youngsters to take control of their lives and not let drugs control them.

‘A drug-taking society’

“According to South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use, in the Northern Cape, 36% of patients admitted to rehabilitation and treatment centres for substance abuse were aged between 10 and 19,” said Shamos.

The Youth Risk Survey of 2002 revealed that 49% of teens use alcohol while 31% smoke cigarettes and 13% used dagga (cannabis).

She warned that drug and alcohol abuse ate away at people’s lives, families, resources and their ability to cope.

“Most of us use drugs every day – caffeine, nicotine, alcohol,” she said. “Ours is a drug taking society and more people are abusing drugs today than in any other time in history”

“Sadag has found a way to bring back hope,” Shamos said.

Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.