A “shocking number of pupils” have tested positive for drugs according to The Western Cape Department of Education. This announcement was made during a Parliamentary address on Thursday, August 22.
Of the learners subjected to drug testing in 2018, 60.9% of primary school learner and 71.1% of high school students tested positive.
“It’s worrying that anyone is taking drugs at school, but primary school learners in particular,” Debbie Schäfer, MEC for Education in the Western Cape said during an interview with CapeTalk.
She added that the number of students who are being tested for drugs has declined, and that many schools do not arbitrarily test their students.
“Fortunately, there were only three cases of tik, one of mandrax and two of cocaine since 2017,” she said.
The Department admits the results may be skewed, as those tested fall within students who are suspected of abusing drugs. The tests are also not contained to a single area, but rather come from schools across the province.
Most students tested positive for nicotine, dagga and alcohol.
“We plead with parents to get involved and help,” Schäfer said.
She also added that drug abuse may be gang-related, but often it is young people experimenting.