An exploratory study on the reasons for substance abuse among the youth in Grabouw, Western Cape Province, South Africa
Substance abuse among the youth is one of the main social challenges in South Africa and around the world. The purpose of this study was to explore the reasons of substance abuse among the youth in Grabouw, Western Cape Province of South Africa. The reason why this research was conducted was because the Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning Unit (ITLU) of the University of the Western Cape approached the Department of Social Work with research topics that emerged from the Faculty of Community and Health sciences involvement in the Theewaterkloof communities. One of the concerns expressed by the community of Grabouw is the high prevalence of substance abuse in this community. This study therefore explored the reasons for substance abuse amongst the youth of Grabouw. The research was conducted using the ecological approach as a theoretical framework. A qualitative research methodology was used to explore the phenomenon under study. The research project followed an explorative, descriptive and contextual research design and with this the researcher sought to understand the reasons for substance abuse. The data was gathered through semi-structured one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions and was later analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis. The findings showed that the reasons for substance abuse among the youth in the rural area of Grabouw are contextual reasons in which the family plays a major role in influencing substance use and also peer pressure, lack of recreational facilities, low religious involvement, experimenting and negative role models within the family and community, the ‘dop’ system, unemployment, availability and affordability were identified as the major reasons for substance abuse. The second major theme that emerged from the study was the psychological reasons for substance abuse. This includes low self-esteem, relieving stress, sexual stimulation, motivation to do unlawful things and boosting performances in sporting activities. The researcher has put forward various recommendations that will contribute towards solving substance abuse.