Following the prevalence of alcohol use disorders and alcohol dependence among South African teenagers, the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) is calling for a new restriction on alcohol and drug consumption.
The Congress says the new age restriction on alcohol and tobacco consumption should be increased to 21.
Giving reasons for its new proposal, COSAS says both alcohol and tobacco which is now in high consumption among young people in high schools and institutions, re addictive and have a negative impact on their lives.
“These substances make it hard for young people to achieve academic excellence and are part of the cause of high school dropout. The consumption age of these substances should be increased to 21 and the government should work twice as hard to prevent the consumption of these substances.”
“Those found to be participating in such activities should be found and prosecuted. The justice system must give harsh sentences … because they seek to destroy the future of South Africa,” said COSAS, calling for the prosecution of those found to be consuming alcohol and tobacco below the age of 21.
So far, alcohol consumption seems to be much more common among South African men, with six in ten men (61%) age 15 and older having drunk one type of alcohol or the other.
Last year, South Africa’s minister of trade and industry Rob Davies released the National Liquor Amendment Bill where he stated that South Africa had the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world.
There, he raised concerns about the extent to which key psychosocial risk factors for tobacco use and alcohol use by adolescents in South Africa.
It is reckoned that we consume in excess of 5 billion litres of alcohol annually and with at least half of the country’s population being categorised as young people the intake of the two substances seem to be on the high side.
Read Also: South Africa: What Happens To Drugs Seized By Cops?
Added to the call for a new age restriction on alcohol, the COSAS has also rejected calls for marijuana to be legalised “until the government intensifies the police force to ensure no illegal consumption of the substance will take place”.
Despite a recent court ruling in favour of the use of Cannabis in homes, the weed is not yet treated like other substances, for instance, like alcohol or cigarettes, the government cannot claim taxes on cannabis because they do not have a licence.