Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative Established at UKZN
The UKZN Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative (ADSAI) was established in 2016 through a collaborative effort driven by the University’s Risk Management Services (RMS) and the HIV and AIDS Programme. This initiative was started as a result of statistics related to drug abuse within the UKZN community. The HIV and AIDS Programme, in promoting healthy lifestyle practices saw a need for involvement in ADSAI especially in view of the link with risky behavior in relation to substance abuse and HIV infection.
At a recent event, that is set to become an annual programme, ADSAI was instituted as a major campaign after students and staff from all five campuses engaged in dialogue and debate with key stakeholders from the Department of Social Development (DSD), the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD), RMS, Students Representative Council, Peer Educators as well as the HIV co-ordinator, Occupational Health Practitioner and a UKZN psychologist.
The aim is to recruit a minimum of 20 volunteers (one representative to cover each School within the Colleges) as champions to work as ambassadors in the ADSAI project advocating for responsible drug-free lifestyles. ADSAI’s theme is that the best approach is to limit the consumption of alcohol and drugs to zero.
‘Like other dependence producing drugs, alcohol is a drug despite the fact that it is so socially accepted,’ said an ADSAI spokesperson. ‘Substance use can lead to misuse and abuse. Tolerance refers to when the body needs more and more to have the same effect. Addiction is when a person cannot cope without the substance and has withdrawal symptoms that may require specialist help.
‘Drugs, like alcohol, affect concentration, judgement, reaction time, perception, co-ordination and balance.
‘According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the only “cure” for drug and alcohol addiction is abstinence – because there is no cure.’
For further information on drug and alcohol abuse, phone SANCA on 031 202 2274.
To be an ADSAI champion phone Ms Eleanor Langley on 031 260 1670 or contact the Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit (CHASU) Health Promoter on your respective campus.