SA Statistics

Addiction Statistics

The drug problem in South Africa has been on a continual rise, especially in the last few years. Methaqualone (Quaaludes), cocainemarijuana (known as dagga in South Africa), and heroin are all drugs that are becoming increasingly popular.

(For the latest Statistics on drug abuse in South Africa 2016 visit this page. >>HERE<<)



Read More on SA Addiction problem……

Dr. David Bayever of the CDA is Very Concerned

Dr. David Bayever from the government drug control organization, known as the CDA, is quoted saying “The drug problem in South Africa remains very serious with drug usage being twice the world norm in most cases…and we are only dealing with what we know about…this is only the tip of the iceberg,”. Bayever says that at least 15% of South Africans have a drug problem; this number however is expected to rise. While some drugs are produced directly in South Africa, it is also a major transshipment hub for importing and exporting them.

New Environments Promote Drug Use

South Africa is located in the southern most part of Africa and has a population of nearly 50 million people. By area, South Africa is one-eighth the size of the United States, just over one-third the size of the European Union, twice as big as France, and nearly four times the size of Germany. Over the past decade, South Africa has become a major country involved in international drug trafficking networks. Experts agree that it is becoming harder and harder to deal with the explosion of the drug trade.

There have been drastic political changes that have been accompanied by social transitioning, rapid modernization, high unemployment rates, and a decline in social, cultural, and family values. As a result, drug use has flourished and new environments, such as night clubs, that promote drug use have been created. These environments appear especially promising for adolescents and young adults looking for an escape. It is in these places that drugs look cool and casual sex is acceptable. Unfortunately, these places are a haven for heavy drug abuse and diseases; such as, HIV and AIDS.

Thanks to facilities such as Cornerstone rehab and many other there is hope for those in desperate need. For a list of facilities visit my Rehab and support page.

A Closer Look: Most Abused Drug Statistics

Let’s take a closer look at the statistics of the most abused drugs in South Africa. Please note that these statistics are from the World Health Organization or WHO.

SA drug statistics

  • Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm.
  • 15% of South Africa’s population have a drug problem.
  • Drug abuse is costing South Africa R20-billion a year and could pose a bigger threat to the country’s future than the Aids pandemic.
  • According to SAPS figures, 60 percent of crimes nationally were related to substance abuse. In the Western Cape, the figure was closer to 80 percent. The perpetrators of these crimes are either under the influence of substances, or trying to secure money for their next fix.
  • In 2004, government disbanded the SA Narcotics Bureau (SANAB), a dedicated drug-fighting unit within the SAPS that had achieved some notable successes. Since its closure, drug-related crimes have increased exponentially – in fact by 30 percent.
  • The recently-released United Nations World Drug Report had named South Africa as one of the drug capitals of the world.
  • The abuse of alcohol and usage of dagga has lead to the country to being one of the top ten narcotics and alcohol abusers in the world.
  • One Rand in four in circulation in SA is linked to the substance abuse problem.   (CDA-Bayever)
  • Drug arrests leapt from 300 in 2006 to 1500 in 2012 in Cape Town. (Times Live)

Global Drug Stats

Drug Type Statistics


  • Drug statistics show that 25 000 people die annually of smoking-related illnesses in SA. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa.
  • 2,5 million workdays are lost in SA due to absenteeism from tobacco-related illnesses.
  • Worldwide, between 80 000 and 100 000 kids start smoking every day.
  • Among young teens (aged 13 to 15), about one in five smoke worldwide.



  • Alcohol is the primary drug of abuse in SA.
  • It’s responsible for nearly half of all motor accidents.
  • Over 30% of our population have an alcohol problem or are at risk of having one.
  • Alcohol affects 17.5 million South Africans.
  • Studies show that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics.
  • 10 million of South Africans who consume alcohol drank the equivalent of 196 six-packs of beer or 62 bottles of spirits which is about 20.1 litres of pure alcohol each person per year.
  • SA has an estimated 182 000 illegal shebeens.
  • 122 out of every 1000 Grade 1 pupils in the Northern Cape town of De Aar have foetal alcohol syndrome – the highest incidence of the syndrome in one population anywhere in the world.
  • 18-22 years olds are the group of heaviest alcohol abuse.
  • 35% of High schools kids are problem drinkers who drink at least 9 units spirits, 1 liter wine or 2 liters of beer.
  •  During the CDA study 20% of 14 year old boys and nearly half of 17 year old boys drank in the previous month. Girls was a bit lower with 18% of 14 year olds and 35% of 17 year olds in the same period. (CDA)


  • The use of dagga has increased by 20% in two years.
  • In 2006 2.52 million people used dagga and this increased to 3.2 million in 2008.   (CDA)
  • South Africans use double the amount of Dagga, than the average world-wide figure.
  • Over R3,5 billion is spent annually by South Africans  to purchase dagga.
  • 1500 metric tons of Dagga is used annually.
  • South Africans spend an estimated R3560 million on dagga per year.
  •


  • Mandrax (Methaqualone) South Africa is the largest user of Mandrax in the world.



  • SA produces approximately one ton of E per year.
  • Almost 110 000 people use ecstasy and pay approximately R610 million in one year.


  • The use of cocaine has increased by 20% in two years.
  • In 2006 there were 250 000 South Africans who consumed cocaine worth about R1 430 million, this increased to 290 000 in 2008. (CDA)
  • The number of South Africans in treatment for cocaine addiction increased from 1.5% in 1996 to 17.5%
  • Read More……


  • Crack (Rocks) is the drug of choice amongst prostitutes. Some spend up to R30 000 per month. Selling their bodies to between 15 and 25 men per day to be able to finance their addiction.
  • Read More……

Methamphetamine (Tik)

  • Tik (methamphetamine) is the main drug of choice for 42% of Cape Town drug users.
  • Global Meth trade supplies 51 000 000 users worldwide. (NatGeo: Drugs Inc, 2010)
  • Worldwide profits of over $ 35 Billion are made from producing and distributing Meth.  (NatGeo: Drugs Inc, 2010)


  • In1996, one percent (1%) of South Africans were in treatment for heroin abuse while in 2008 those in treatment for this addiction increased between 8 – 24%.   (CDA)
  • “Sugars”, a Heroin based drug that affects about 70 percent of households in the Durban south suburb Chatsworth.
  • Nyaope, a mixture of dagga and heroin, is causing inestimable damage among Tshwane’s township youth.
  • Other forms of Heroin is on the increase under names like “Plazana” and “Kwape”, this makes the path from Dagga to Heroin much easier.
  • More female studentsthan male are using heroin.   (UNISA publication “Inspired” Vol 5 2009)

In one year, the percentage of users has doubled in South Africa and is now marketed specifically in townships. Prices have also come down and it is far more affordable to lower income groups.


Rise in Heroin (South Africa)…….



  • Between 2% and 6% of those admitted to drug rehabilitation centres are hooked on prescription medications.
  • “Most drug rehabilitation centers have a success rate of less than 3%.”    (Prof. .Malaka / University of Limpopo).
  • Get Support Here……


  • School kids who use alcohol or drugs are 3 times more involved with violent crimes.   (CDA)
  • From 1992 – 95 the use of drugs among teenagers increased by 600%. That figure is still increasing and is now 1100%.   (2007)
  • The starting age of abuse is twelve and younger, and drug fealers are targeting schools.   (CDA – Bayever 2009)
  • Studies show that the average age of drug dependency in South Africa to be 12 years old, and dropping.
  • One in two schoolchildren admits to having experimented with drugs.
  • 1 in 2 kids in the average SA home addicted to drugs or alcohol, or run the risk of becoming.   (Die Beeld, 05.03.2010)
  • Children who have one alcoholic parent have a 60% chance of becoming one. This percentage rises to 80% if both parents are alcoholics.   (Lig, 04.2008)
  • 50% of Grade 11 learners admitted that they have used alcohol in the last year.   (Lig, 4.2008)
  • 31% of school learners drink socially.   (CDA, 2008)
  • 60% of Grade 8-11 learners in Cape schools that misuse alcohol had to repeat their grade.   (CDA, 2008)
  • By the age of 18 more than 60% of teenagers has become drunk. 30% had used school time or work time to drink.   (The Lancet medical journal, 2009)
  • In 2007 there was a clear increase in patients under 20 years, who came for treatment for dagga addiction. (MRC)
  • A 2007 report said that Gauteng’s youngest drug dealer was a 8 year old boy from Douglasdale.   (Gauteng Drug awareness team)
  • 35% of High schools kids are problem drinkers who drink at least 9 units spirits, 1 liter wine or 2 liters of beer. (Rapport, 11.05.2008)
  • In 2008 it was reported that 12 years before 2% of patients in rehab centers were under 20 years of age. In 2008 the number increased to 20%. Most were addicted to tik (meth), dagga and heroin.   (MRC)
  • According to research done in May 2008, 20% of 14 year old boys and nearly half of 17 year old boys drank in the previous month. Girls was a bit lower with 18% of 14 year olds and 35% of 17 year olds in the same period.   (CDA)

Drug syndicates

  • In 1995 there were approximately 125 drug syndicates in South Africa, now there are 438.   (2007)

Related Statistics

  • An increase in child-headed households from 701,000 in 2007 to 5.7 million was expected by 2015.
  • SA ranks NO: 4 in the world for drug offence cases per 100 000 population – 53,810 per 100,000 people.   (UN, 2002)
  • Statistics in the Western Cape

(For the latest Statistics on drug abuse in South Africa 2016 visit this page.)

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41 Comments Add yours

  1. dordes says:

    Hi.I know some countries offer free Methadone to those drug addicts that need help to try quitting.Is there such help in Durban, South Africa where those that need help can go to?Many thanks help appreciated.

  2. Brennan says:

    This is a great blog! The statistics and information provided here are brilliant. I was a drug addict for 15 years and am happy to say i have been sober for 12 years now. I do alot of talks at schools and this sort of info can be very helpful in communicating the seriousness of the drug problems in SA and around the world. I believe educating young people about drugs and the harmful effects can go along way to help prevent young people getting themselves into trouble. Prevention is better than cure. Awesome blog!

  3. Nathalie says:

    Thank you for the comprehensive and informative information resource!
    Do you know where I can find a person to help with doing talks on drugs – what the drugs look like, what they are called, the effects it has in terms of high and on the individual’s health (long term and short term), typical behaviour of an addict etc. We are a CPF and would like to roll out a drug awareness campaign. Unfortunately SAPS resources are scarce so I would appreciate the expertise of a speaker/councilor/teacher to assist with the process.

  4. yolandi says:

    Goodday I am the wife of a drug addicts. My husband is addicted to cat for a long time. And by the looks of it he is not going to stop, not without help and treatment. But please help me understand, how am I going to get him treatment and help without money. Rehabs are expensive, drug implants are expensive and where I live the closest place is 40 km away. Now I don’t have transport how do I get him help. I tried getting in touch with narc anon but they can’t help me because I don’t have transport to take my husband. I prayed so many times that God must help us, my husband is willing to do it. If there is someone out there who can help us pls reply to this email. Thanx

    1. shane says:

      I was involved with drugs and went to many different places for help but would always fall back deeper cause I never gave the lord a chance till I came to a place called kwasizabantu mission it’s in malmesbury the mission is world wide know and there are different missions in south Africa and the world the main mission is in KZN Google for more info or google concerned young people of south africa they are on the main mission hope this was of help the mission is totally free of charge no money involved

  5. Louise Frosch says:

    Hey there , I am sorry to bother but do you have any new stats that have been done for each province in South-Africa?

  6. It doesn’t matter HOW we look at stats – it is SCARY to see the exponential rise in drug trafficking and drug use and addiction in our country. I am planning to a UP to Date “drug education” documentary and has started a FB page a few weeks ago. The cries for help from both addicts and their family / friends made me realized that the problem is MUCH bigger than we are actually aware off.

  7. Andisiwe Siqiki says:

    Thank you for you information its helpful keep it up.

  8. Susan says:

    Hi found out my daughter’s husband is using CAT or khat? Please assist me in how to assist my child. Lots of scary things came out over this weekend. she is pregnant too. How do I help her. She are not allowed to let us know. So we have to pretend that we know about nothing.

  9. pieter croukamp says:

    Hi I see one big problem in South Africa, we have clinics but unless you have a lot of money these people dont want to help you, our churches are of no help. Most places in Gauteng caters for grown ups not for school kids. Please let me know if anyone feels the same as me, maybe we can start something with volunteers etc Let GOD be with you

    1. Andre Theron says:

      Hi Peter I am running a recovery program in Springs Gauteng at my church AFM Fonteinedal you can contact me there Past Andre

    2. Hailey says:

      please contact me if you still feel the same..
      a change is really needed in the south of Johannesburg.
      its getting out of hand.
      my email.

  10. Hi do you have any training available for people that would like to become councilors, where the need for councilors is a matter of urgency.

  11. judy says:

    Hi there, my nephew just turned 14 years old and he is addicted to dagga and we’re tested and found a combination of other drugs too. He was suspensed from school after a random drug test. He’s been at at home now for 6 months. His been to sanca and they were not able to help him because he refuses to be helped. He is 14 really? All the state rehabs are full and his been on a waiting list for months and no response. They said he first needs to commit a drug related crime before they can help him. This is a child please help.

  12. maryke says:

    please help my son is on drugs, he is 16 years old
    I need help now!!!!!!

    1. Hi there i have forwarded your mail to someone who will be in touch with you soon.

    2. Andre Theron says:

      contact me at AFM Fonteinedal Springs Gauteng

  13. tobiehanekom says:

    After reading through a few of these topics I could help but notice the lack of knowledge towards khat, I’ve lost a few friends do this drug as its the biggest stepping stone towards other drugs.

    And the worst part is, khat is more openly available that weed. On numerous occasion I drove with friends when they purchased weed @ shoprite etc and each time they spoke to a dealer asking what he sold it would never be anything else than Methacatinone (khat). its become a very popular drug because of the ephydrine it has and allows you to work for days without sleep or food.

    That makes you wonder, did society ruin the teenager or was it the fact that we need to deliver more in today ‘s environment that children start taking chemical based drugs.

  14. Tracy says:

    thank you for the information. There are so many people battiling with this including close members of my family> it is draining and hurtfull to see what people do to themselves as well as others that care for them. In Christ

  15. INCB Annual Report 2012
    Launched on 5 March 2013
    Based on its activities, INCB publishes an annual report that is submitted to ECOSOC through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the drug control situation in various parts of the world. As an impartial body, INCB tries to identify and predict dangerous trends and suggests necessary measures to be taken. In its Annual Report, the Board makes recommendations to Governments and international organizations for improving the global drug control situation.

  16. This must be the most concisely detailed source of information relating to the SA drug problem I have ever discovered.
    I have to commend you on this and I truly hope that you would find either the time or the help to continue this amazing work.
    I am now following you and I shall certainly be promoting your blog.

  17. Annoyed Individual says:

    Could you delusional uninformed people kindly stop lumping in weed with all these ‘actual’ drugs. Recreational use of cannabis is about as safe as you could hope for. It’s lack of chemical and psychological addictiveness already puts it steps above alcohol and tabacco. Finally the best thing to do for any of these drugs would be to legalise them as this would allow the government to better control the access to them and would also drive the drug dealers who prey on children out of business. An adult has the right to do with their body as they please as long as they do not hurt anyone else. The only thing these smear campaigns do is leave teenagers less informed than they should be and openly invite the seedy underbelly of society to corrupt them

    1. Hi “Annoyed Individual” believe me i know what people say about Weed and that its ok in moderation. And you know what else I know people who have been using it for years. But I also know people that have ended up in psychiatric wards because of it. As a ex-Heroin addict I can say without a doubt that if i didn’t start with weed I most probably wouldn’t have ended up on Heroin. You see what weed does is it shifts the boundary within your life, making it ok. But as soon as it is no longer good enough we tend to move slowly on to other substances. You see people will only do something if it benefits them in some way. ie: gives them a sense of security, relieve for example and as soon as it stops doing that they move on. Some people are ok with only using Weed for years sometimes for a lifetime. But its sad to know that they relied on a substance to fulfill them instead of finding true and lasting fulfillment.
      Also check out my page on Cannibis

  18. Grant says:

    Alarming figures as ever. Is there any clearer figures on the numbers addicted to prescription drugs besides the 6% of rehab admissions? I really think some research into prescription drug addiction needs doing!

  19. heinrich says:

    My friends smoke dagga some times ill stand with them but i don’t smoke it or when they smoke lolly or that stuff they do with the light bulb will it do someting on me

    1. Hi Heinrich, to tell you the honest truth its never good be around company that doesn’t build you up in every aspect of you life. I’m not sure what life style you live or if you have a relationship with the Lord. Don’t get me wrong i’m not going to put you under law and say that its wrong to be around them because there is grace for you and your friends. The Holy Spirit could very well be using you to change their lives. What i can say is that you should always stay plugged in to a good Spirit filled church. Try and have friends that are more spiritually mature than you so that you can grow, if you have friends that are less spiritually mature than you, be the thermostat not the thermometer if you know what i mean (in other words be in control of the atmosphere don’t let the atmosphere control you.) I haven’t been updating this blog for a while or replying to comments. I’m a web designer and have been really busy but i’m going to start because i see there is a real need. I’m also going to try and install forums were we can all chat to each other. Be sure to register so that i have you details. Bless you buddy and stay strong, i will keep you in my prayers.

      1. theunis louw says:

        Good day,,I neet help,I have tik adicttion,I don’t have medical aid,,is there a rehab in somerset wes,or where I can get a ditox and suport after the ditox

      2. louw says:

        Good day I have tik addiction,I don’t have medical aid ,I stay in helderberg,or a detox and suport after the detox

  20. clint campher says:

    Is there any updated drug statistics for 2012\2013

    1. Seeking info/stats to give to Grade 7-9 learners

    2. Hi Clint, to tell you the honest truth i havnt been updating this blog for a while im a designer and been very busy but i see there is a great need so im going to get the new stats posted, im also going to install a forum were we can have discussions so be sure to register so that i have your details. Bless you my brother!!!

      1. Solange says:

        Hi Christian
        Have you been able to post the new stats? We are working on getting the Mpumalanga govenrment on opening more rehab centres in this province (which has had a massive rise in drug use over the last decade and is known as a hub for traffickers given that it borders 2 other countries) and it would really help to have updated stats. We currently only have 2 state in-patient rehab centres in the entire province and 3 small, underfunded Sanca centres.

      2. Hi there I am busy working on the new stats. Im trying to find out if any new studies have been done for each province. As soon as I have them I will definitely post them up to the site.

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