A new United Nations report shows that South Africa has emerged as a key producer of Amphetamine Type Substances, such as "tik", for the Southern Africa region.
The report also pointed to increases in cannabis use by South Africans.
The 2012 World Drug Report, released at the end of last week in Pretoria, was compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
As we observe Substance Abuse week, it is clear that there is much more that government needs to do to address South Africa's high levels of drug abuse.
Young South Africans in particular are in serious need of support.
I will be writing to the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to request that she urgently takes the steps necessary to promote the implementation of the following interventions.
Reinstatement of the Narcotics Bureau: A dedicated unit must be established within the SAPS to co-ordinate an integrated response to drug related crimes;
Establishment of an anti-drug unit within the SAPS: This is separate from the Narcotics Bureau and would specialise in anti-drug patrolling and investigations;
Tightening up on bail for drug offences: Anyone who has already been convicted on a charge of drug dealing, and who is charged with this crime again, should not be eligible for bail;
Roll out of mini drug master plans: The Minister must work with her Cabinet colleagues to ensure that mini-drug master plans for their departments are drafted and implemented, in accordance with the National Drug Master Plan; and
Establishment of a dedicated Strategy Review Committee: This committee is essential if there is to be effective monitoring and evaluation of the National Drug Master Plan.
The DA-run Western Cape government has implemented a number of initiatives to promote the fight against substance abuse.
These include the establishment of four Out-Patient Alcohol and Drug Treatments centres in high-risk drug use areas and rolling out programmes in schools to educate young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
Initiatives such as these reflect the Western Cape government's commitment to addressing substance abuse, and supporting the families and communities most affected by it.
Minister Dlamini must take the steps necessary to galvanise the national government into action against substance abuse, and ensure it does all it can to give young South Africans the opportunity to live lives they value.
Mike Waters, Shadow Minister of Social Development