My 9-year-old is on drugs (En)
CHILDREN as young as six have received treatment and counselling for drug addiction in East London, a social worker told the Saturday Dispatch this week.
Most of the young boys were smoking drugs using Hookah pipes or “hubbly bubblies”, said Samantha Beaumont, a social worker with the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro).
A young boy in
with a Hookah
pipe, which is
used to smoke
On Thursday the Dispatch spoke to the mother of a nine-year-old boy being treated for addiction to heroin and dagga at the South African National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca).
His desperate mother said drug use was rife in the Parkside community where they lived and believes her son may have started using drugs from as young as seven.
The 45-year-old mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the family’s identity, said her son, who attends a local primary school, had turned into a “drug monster” and stole anything he could to sell and feed his addiction.
“I noticed this early in the year but I never wanted to admit that he was doing drugs although the signs were there,” she said.
“I heard rumours that he was being used to push drugs but I never knew it would go this far.” Working for a multinational company in a well-paying job, the mother of three said the family lived comfortably.
“I just don’t know how I’m I going to tell my relatives about my son’s addiction,” she said. “I feel I am to blame. My child has turned into this black sheep.”
She said drugs were rife in the community. “I blame the older people for letting him get involved in this. My son has become so aggressive and has become this monster who doesn’t respect his older siblings.”
Another mother, Janice Mahadeo, 43, said she had recently caught her 12-year-old daughter doing drugs. “I have a 14-year-old son who is into drugs and as I was nursing him I noticed that my daughter was smoking dagga. She’s only 12 years old. What must we do as parents to stop this?” asked Mahadeo.
Both mothers attended a three-day workshop organised by Nicro in East London this week. Beaumont said the workshop was aimed at bringing parents together to fight drug abuse in their communities.
She said boys as young as six were doing drugs and most had started using Hookah pipes, or “hubbly bubblies”, as they are commonly known.
“The workshop was about upholding positive parenting skills and the aim is to connect children with their parents,” she said.
“It is time for parents to come out and fight this”
“You see kids as young as six getting more love and connection with their peers on the street than at their homes and that is wrong.”
The workshop, which ended yesterday, was attended by 25 parents from around the city who had problems with drugs in their homes.
Beaumont said many teen drug addicts dropped out of school because their minds weren’t functioning properly.
“For example, dagga lasts up to six weeks in one’s body,” she said.
“But many of these teenagers are also using hardcore drugs.”
The issue of drug use among young children was confirmed by Sanca’s Angelique Fraser, who said education was needed to address the matter.
“We are facing a huge problem here. The youngest client we’ve had to assist at Sanca was a nine-year-old. This is a crisis,” she said.
Nicro manager Antony Chakuwamba said parents needed to take a stand against drug abuse. “It is time for parents to come out and fight this.”