The children of Eersterust cheered with excitement as they all yelled “we are fine with drugs!” (meaning they are aware of the dangers) during a demonstration and police awareness campaign to address the scourge of drug addiction and substance abuse in the community.
Pupils in grades 4 to 7 from Nantes Primary School, PS Fourie Primary School, Norridge Park Primary School and Fred Magardie Primary School gathered at the Eersterust Soccer Stadium in Pretoria yesterday, where police units and rehabilitation centres gave talks and warnings on the use of drugs.
The campaign was a joint initiative by the South African Police Service’s emergency service and community safety unit, as well as the Gauteng department of education’s Tshwane south district.
The initiative targeted young pupils who are able to comprehend the message of abstaining from drugs, bullying in schools and harassment such as sexual assault, Mapula Thosago, Gauteng education Tshwane south district’s assistant director for school safety, told The Citizen.
“Since the issue of substance abuse is a social issue that affects the community, we want pupils from a young age to know that they must stay away from drugs.
“We identified these schools as they are right in Eersterust where there is a high rate of substance and alcohol abuse.
“As young as they are, we don’t want to wait for the pupils to first start engaging in drugs before we do something. We want them to be able to focus well on their studies,” Thosago said.
The children screamed with joy when the police helicopter landed on the soccer field, while the police special forces spread across the ground with rifles at the ready.
The K9 unit’s sniffer dog demonstrated how they bust drug dealers.
Children were also warned on the dangers of substance abuse while interacting with an anti-drug organisation which urged them to resist peer pressure.
Police spokesperson Captain Pinky Tsinyane said the community had raised concerns of drug abuse in the schools and in the area, while the education department requested frequent drug searches in schools.
“We need to partner with the community and school children in regards to drug abuse in the community and in schools. We want the children to trust the police, parents and stakeholders so they can report any suspicious activities,” she said.
Also read: Tshwane’s R1.5m drive to help drug addicts