Reliable research indicates that the use and the usage patterns of substance dependants are changing and that the numbers and types of substance dependence are increasing rapidly. For example, the research shows that:
– Between 10% and 33% of adults suffer from an alcohol dependency problem –
i.e. between 1.8 and 3 million South Africans;
– 25% of pre-teens have tried drugs, that is about 2.5 million;
– 47% percent of substance dependants elected alcohol as first choice;
– Approximately 9% of drug addicts indicate cocaine as first choice;
2% prefer heroin.
“New” drugs and the so-called “designer drugs” make their appearance every day. To name but two: methamphetamine crystals (tuk-tuk) appeared, cheap and relatively easily available. Recently, the use of Freon gas, available as so-called frozen air, has begun to be popular.
The drug industry’s impact on the economy is known, as well as the relationship between substance dependency, unemployment, criminal acts and violence. It is generally accepted that the drug industry is the world’s second largest, just after the arms industry and prostitution.