What is substance abuse?

When substances like drugs, tobacco or alcohol enter your body and they change the way your body works. This can damage your health and affect your life (in a bad way). If you keep on taking them, or take too much, we call that substance abuse. If a person feels that they have to take a substance (like alcohol or drugs) in order to live; then they are addicted.

Why is substance abuse dangerous?

As your body becomes used to the substance, you need more and more of it to have the same “high” feeling. This need for more is actually growing addiction. The more substance you need, the more money you will need or the risky things you will do to get it (like do sexual favours). And there is no cure for addiction - rehabilitation may or may not help.

As you grow up you will most likely be offered substances, like alcohol, tobacco or drugs. You may see other adolescents smoking or drinking at parties and it may look like fun. You may feel you won’t fit in if you don’t join in.

But drugs should not be tried even once because of how dangerous they are. In South Africa, most drugs are mixed with other things like rat poison and household detergents that make the drug even more dangerous and deadly. For example, whoonga is made up of a mixture of low grade heroin and other things like rat poison, HIV medication etc.

However, it’s not always easy to say ‘No’, especially in front of your friends. So you could try to say things like: "No thanks," "I don't drink," or "I'm not interested."

Sometimes once is too much, so it’s best to never start using substances!


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B-Wise User katleho 27 June 2017 13:59

I have been abuse by my grand parents and my brother@ home and thy call me by names?so what must i do?

B-Wise Expert Expert 27 June 2017 14:53

Hi Katleho, That sounds really hard – so sorry to hear it. If you call Childline on 08000 55555 you can ask them about your options for reporting and getting help. If you don’t feel safe at home, tell a teacher, social worker, or a nurse or counsellor at your nearest clinic, or report the abuse at the police station.



B-Wise User oestegarvoner 29 March 2016 23:41

I believe our way of doing celebration play a role in alcohol abuse as we normally brought a lot of alcohol which make young ppl adapt the style