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To be a recognized authority dedicated to education, prevention and treatment of substance abuse, providing affordable training and therapeutic interventions of the highest quality to all communities.

Drug Info


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Alcohol is a physically and psychologically addictive drug, and is illegal under the age of 18 years in South Africa. It is a Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant with a dual effect, initially acting as a stimulant and reducing feelings of stress and worry. As more alcohol is absorbed it has a depressive effect. The brain centre that governs self-control is affected, increasing aggression in some drinkers. Brain cells are destroyed rapidly and brain activity is reduced. People are unaware of the fact that judgment of fine muscle coordination, sight and hearing are impaired. The eventual outcome is sleep, breathing difficulties and more seriously death.  Alcohol is highly toxic and affects every organ in the body as it is carried through the bloodstream; for example, liver, kidneys, stomach lining, heart muscles, blood hormone levels and the nervous system are all affected.



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Dagga is also known as Cannabis, Marijuana, Dope, Grass, Weed or Zol. Dagga is smoked in cigarettes, pipes or through a broken bottleneck. It can be eaten or drunk as a tea. Dagga acts as a hallucinogen and a CNS Depressant. The negative effects are grossly underestimated as Dagga contains over 421 poisonous chemicals. Dagga is called a gateway drug because people build up tolerance to it and move onto other drugs. Effects on health include: rapid destruction of brain cells, mental illness, demotivation, distortion of time, distance and speed, impaired short-term memory, increased heart rate, watery eyes, lung problems, and hormonal disturbances.  Cancer of the tongue, throat, lungs and stomach has also been reported.


Smoking a hubbly bubbly or hookah pipe is another form of tobacco use, where the tobacco is heated by charcoal and the smoke passes though water filled chamber that cools the smoke before it is inhaled. It is mistakenly believe that filtering the smoke though water removes some of the tar and nicotine thereby reducing the health risks.Smoking hubbly bubbly is in fact associated with increased carbon monoxide and nicotine exposure because the person spends a longer period of time smoking. Susceptibility to other lung infections is also increased by the inhalation of the various chemicals with moisture. Hubbly bubbly has also become a vehicle for other drugs and recent trends have indicated that tobacco is mixed with dagga and or heroin, and may be filtered though alcohol. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use is acquired behaviour, one that the individual chooses to do, smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society.






Also known as Coke, Snow, Nose Candy or Charlie. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant or upper, which leads to euphoria. The rebound depression between doses is so unpleasant that a user feels compelled to escape into a high state again. Cocaine is described as the most psychologically dependence producing drug.  Side effects include: insomnia, loss of appetite, paranoid psychosis, nasal irritation, loss of smell and taste, seizures and cardiac arrest. Cocaine bugs—a crawling sensation felt under the skin has lead may people to hurt themselves.




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Methamphetamine is a substance chemically related to amphetamine sulphate, but significantly more active. This drug is highly psychologically as well as physically addictive, and is associated with bizarre and aggressive behaviour.  Having gained popularity over the past few years in South Africa, it is easily accessible. It is sold as a combination of amphetamines, talcum powder, starch, glucose and quinine.  Overdose is common as, with all street drugs, the person can never be sure of exactly what they are taking.  Street names include crystal, crank, ice, speed, tuk, tik-tik and globe. The drug may be crushed and snorted or injected, or the crystals may be smoked.  In South Africa smoking it in a light bulb is common, and is referred to as globing.  A number of adverse side effects may occur after use, Body temperature may increase, leading to fever and nausea.  Rapid cardiac and respiratory rates develop and blood pressure increases.  Paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations may be experienced with both initial and subsequent use.  When the drug wears off, the individual may experience feelings of restlessness, anxiety, irritability and severe depression.




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Seen very often as “clean drugs” or “safe drugs” we are finding more and more abuse of these drugs. It is important to know that even though they may be safely manufactured, the addiction and damage they can cause when used incorrectly can be the same as for street drugs. Many people often do not see the overuse or inappropriate use of these drugs as addiction or abuse. This is because it often happens slowly; we have been conditioned from a young age that if you have a headache take a pill and the long term overuse of OTC and prescription medicine, like alcohol, is not particularly socially unacceptable.  Some commonly abused OTC and prescription medicines are steroids, benzodiazepines, analgesics, cold and flu preparations and slimming tablets.


Please contact us for further information regarding the substances of abuse and addiction.




Changing patterns of performance, appearance and behaviour may signal use of drugs. There is seldom one indication, but rather a pattern of change over time that gives the clues that something is happening.  In adolescence the changes in physical appearance and the mood swings are often misleading and may not necessarily indicate drug use.


Signs of Drugs and Drug Equipment


  • Possession of drug-related equipment such as pipes, rolling papers, small decongestant bottles, or small butane torches.
  • Possession of drugs or evidence of drugs: small plastic packets, rolled or folded pieces of paper, peculiar plants, or butts, seeds, or leaves in ashtrays or clothing pockets.
  • Odour of drugs, smell of incense or other “cover-up” scents.


Identification With Drug Culture


  • Drug-related magazines, slogans on clothing and posters, wearing Rasta colours.
  • Conversations and jokes that are preoccupied with drugs.
  • Hostility in discussing drugs.
  • Music that glorifies drugs.


Signs of Physical Deterioration


  • Memory lapses, short attention span, difficulty in concentration.
  • Poor physical co-ordination, slurred or incoherent speech.
  • Unhealthy appearance, indifference to hygiene and grooming.
  • Bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils.
  • Weight loss


Dramatic Changes In School Performance


  • Distinct downward turn in studentís grades - not just from Cís to Fís but from Aís to Bís and Cís.
  • Assignments not completed.
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness.
  • Dropping out of sport or other extramurals
  • Falling asleep in class
  • Negative reactions to all forms of discipline


Changes In Behaviour


  • Chronic dishonesty (lying, stealing, cheating).
  • Trouble with the police.
  • Changes in friends, evasiveness in talking about new ones.
  • Possession of large amounts of money.
  • Increasing and inappropriate anger, hostility, irritability, secretiveness.
  • Reduced motivation, energy, self-discipline, self-esteem.
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • A deterioration in open communication
  • Disinterest in previously important activities
  • Detachment from family activities and interaction
  • Disappearances
  • Strange, unpredictable behaviour and rebelliousness
  • Inappropriate over-reaction to mild criticism or simple requests
  • Preoccupation with self, less concern for feelings of others
  • Changes in values, ideals, beliefs
  • Periods of unexplained absence from home.




Be aware of what it is you are taking and also why. Ensure that you know what the drug can do and the potential risks. A risk present with all illegal drugs (street drugs) is that you never can be sure that they are safe. People who make street drugs do not care about quality and do not have to follow the same strict procedures as required for OTC and prescription drugs. So you could be getting anything when you buy these drugs. Be aware that every drug has potential risks - ask your pharmacist or contact DARE for information if you need to know information about drugs.