1.1 Background of the study
Adolescence and puberty can be a very conflicting stage of any child; the environment is of great importance in an adolescent’s personal and social development. During adolescence and young adulthood, young people are presented with opportunities to develop their ideas, attitudes and self image. Participation in different kinds of learning environments (both school and non school) exposes them to new influences, particularly those associated with peers, teachers, the institution itself and the community as a whole (Hasse & Pratschike 2010).
Studies over the past two decades have tried to determine the origin and pathway of drug abuse and addiction, how the problem starts and how it progresses. Many factors have been identified that help differentiate those more likely to abuse drugs from those less vulnerable to drug abuse (Talai et.al 2008).
Factors associated with greater potential for drug abuse are called risk factors while those associated with reduced potential for abuse are called protective factors. Risk factors include Early aggressive behaviour, lack of parental supervision, drug availability and poverty while protective factors include: impulse control, parental supervision, drug availability, academic competence and strong neighborhood attachment (Haase & Pratschike 2010). The physical, psychological, social and economic consequences of drug abuse among youth are becoming more obvious worrisome and disturbing. Young people who persistently abuse substances experience an array of problems including health related problems (which include poor mental health, poor peer relationship and involvement in social vices such as stealing, bullying, secret cult activities, all these have negative consequences on family members, community and the entire society (King & Chassis 2014).
Substance abuse dependence cross all lines of race, culture, education and socio-economic status leaving no group untouched by its devastating effect. A recent survey estimated that about 16 million citizen of the United State had used an illegal substance at 2007 (King & Chassis 2014).
Substance abuse is an enormous public health problem with far ranging effect throughout society. It is considered as an important factor in a wide variety of social problems affecting rates of crime, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS), unemployment, homelessness, teen pregnancy and failure in school (King & Chassis 2014).
Learners in South Africa have been found to be involved in the use of different psychoactive substances which include cannabis (marijuana, dagga),amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine, manadrax, crack crock, heroine, cocaine ( Peltzer 2017, CDA 2013)
Cannabis which is smoked by 129-190million people at least once a year has been considered as the most widely used substance globally (World Drug Report, 2015). In South Africa, cannabis also remain a drug of high interest among the youths (Peltzer, 2017).
The tradition of using multiple drugs has been recognized as a common practice. A typical poly drug found to be common ranges from heroines, morphine, marijuana, cigarette (Thomas & Velaphi, 2014).
Stress as a factor has a contributing influence on substance abuse among adolescents as reflected in various studies carried out in different location in sub-Saharan Africa including South Africa and Kenya (Haase & Pratshke 2010).
According to the white paper for social welfare (2007), substance abuse is recognized as one of the greatest health and social problems in Africa. It is estimated that approximately 5.8% of Africans over the age of 15 years is dependent on alcohol. Youth and children are found to be amongst the high risk group.
Edmonds and Wilcocks (2010), pointed out that physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially man is never static. The description of adolescence often refers to increased emotional variability, moodiness and emotional out bursts. Emotions are regarded as important as they affect one’s behavior in relation to others.
Mokoena (2012) described that adolescence is a stage of physical growth, cognitive development both quantitatively and qualitatively. Cognitive change plays an important role in helping the adolescents to deal with complex demands.
Conclusively, problems of drug abuse can be attributed to the following factors; exposure to poor family relationships, unstable home environment and association with peers that abuse substances.