I have a drug problem

The thing that strikes me about drugs and alcohol is that they abuse the immediate family of the abusers more than the individual.

I was driving to work at about eight the other morning. Past the Golden Acre, where the busses meet the city.

Stopped at a red light, I saw a toddler of about four, hanging out on the pavement, playing with an old bicycle tyre. Around her four adults, presumably her parents among them, were in various states of collapse. She played around them. One of the men, perhaps her father? An uncle? A family friend? Staggered to his feet, stumbled around for a few seconds then collapsed again, smacking his head hard against the wall on his way down. She watched.

A child’s life was being destroyed in front of my eyes.





If you’d like to add your voice to the Cape Town community and help deal with the substance abuse problem that affects the city, you’re invited to share your own story.

Post your story of how drug abuse affected your life in The City of Cape Town, and share it on Twitter using the hashtag #ihaveadrugproblem.

If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse, phone the free 24hr helpline on 0800 435 748.


3 responses to “I have a drug problem”

  1. Ben says:

    Hi, what an interesting approach to addiction. I am an addict myself, and fortunately I was too young to have children last year, when I decided to clean up. I did, however, hurt a lot of people around me during my using and general behaviour; especially members within my immediate family. One of the interesting things you mentioned here is neglection. The public often associates addiction or substance abuse with violence, theft and other sorts of crimes. But the true selfish and self – centered nature of the addict is more often than not overlooked. The episode you describe is a perfect example of how it manifests. It reminds me of Trainspotting (1996), the scene where neglection ends up costing a baby’s life. Anyway thank you for that perspective. I have a blog completely dedicated to addiction and my personal experiences and thoughts. Check it out: http://www.thehighwaytohell.wordpress.com

  2. Paige says:

    Hi Ben, thanks for your thoughtful response. This is a campaign the City of Cape Town has undertaken to address substance abuse and I think they’re doing a great job. Here’s a bit more about it if you’re interested: http://tinyurl.com/ooapt2a

    I’ll go check out your site.

    All the best,

  3. the other Paige says:

    Hi Paige, I’m a bit behind on reading your posts so have only just read this now. Heartrending imagery, what’s the answer?
    Do you call the authorities, quote the campaign and enlist them to collect the child and place her in foster care? They’re talking about getting help but how fast are their reactions? Its safe to assume that child might not be in the same spot all week or even later the same day. Sometimes the temptation to bury my head in the sand is all but overwhelming…

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