Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) calls action as new drug, called Xanax, sweeps through schools in KwaZulu Natal.
The party issued a statement raising grave concerns about the drug used by youth, saying it could lead to an unproductive society if its not instantly managed.
Xanax comes after the cough mixture containing codeine has grown popular and is used by pupils to get high. They mix the codeine mixture with juice and cold drinks and distribute it at school.
Xanax is used to treat anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia. The drug is extremely addictive when used long-term.
“We are on the verge of losing this generation to drug abuse, however, our policymakers are fighting it with rhetoric. Our young democracy is threatened if we don’t wake up now and do something drastic about this menace,” the party warned.
“It is an escalating challenge that is generally recognised as one with potential to impact negatively on people’s health, cultural, social and economic welfare,” said the statement attributed to IFP KZN Premier candidate, Velenkosini Hlabisa.
The party suggests an implementation of a comprehensive school programme on the effects of drugs, which should form a major part of the school curriculum. They added that about 4000 social workers are currently unemployed, and they could be deployed to schools and drug hotspots.
“Social workers are able to work together with teachers and parents in schools to assist with learners struggling to cope. To protect citizens there is a need to implement public policies that provide information on the serious effects of the consumption of any prescribed drug,” they explained.
The party expressed concerns about drug paddling hotspots which include food kiosk, parks, liquor outlets, street parties and homes.
“Furthermore, some law enforcement agencies have shown laxity and are complicit or have simply turned a blind eye to drug dealing activities happening right under their nose,” they said.
They also suggest that investing in treatment and rehabilitation to reduce drug misuse and dependency would not only help to save lives but would also substantially reduce related economic and social costs.