NWU youth dialogue addresses alcohol and drug abuse
The decision to start experimenting with alcohol and drugs is one that a young person should never even consider. This was the key message from Warren Brits, a recovered drug abuser from Danville near Mahikeng.
Warren told his story at a Youth Dialogue convened by the North-West University (NWU), in association with the provincial Department of Education, the Moral Regeneration Movement, the Department of Community Safety and a number of high schools around the provincial capital.
The dialogue, titled “Standing together to fight alcohol and drug abuse in society”, brought Youth Month activities to an end.
The audience were captivated by Warren’s chilling account of how his drug abuse began as a “recreational affair”, later led to his becoming a regular drug user, and finally losing his top job at the public broadcaster in Johannesburg.
He ascribes his descent into the drug world to a break-up with his then girlfriend who was three months pregnant at the time. A threat that he would never see his son and pressure from the wrong drug-using friends also drove him over the edge, Warren says.
“I went to rehabilitation and established a relationship with God. I used methods such as these to kick the drug habit.”
Unemployed at present, Warren moved back to Mahikeng recently and is using his experience to work with young people exposed to drugs. He is also encouraging parents not to turn a blind eye, whether the user is their own child or someone else’s.
Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, deputy vice-chancellor of the campus, also encouraged young people to remain focused and to use institutions such as the NWU to further their education and to finally turn their circumstances around for the better.
A representative from the provincial Department of Community Safety also highlighted the dire state of crime in schools, and what steps are being taken to root out the problem.
The NWU Youth Dialogue brought together a wide spectrum of learners and representatives from organisations working with those involved in alcohol and drug abuse.