n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Secondary school learners' perspectives on illicit drugs

Volume 30 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Thirty years after, Newcomb, Maddahian and Bentler (1986:525) claimed that, “Drug use amongst adolescents and young adults has become widespread during the past 25 years, with many characterising the increases as of epidemic proportions. Although it is not too surprising that many teenagers have experimented at some time with various drugs, problems begin to arise when this experimental use becomes regular use or abuse”. The only notable change since this statement has been an undeniable increase in adolescent drug use. Against this backdrop this study sought to directly investigate learner perspectives on illicit drugs amongst a sample of secondary school learners in a historically Indian working class area. A questionnaire with short phrased multiple option responses was used. Questions elicited responses on inter alia biographical data of participants, availability of drugs in the neighbourhood and counselling support by way of advising and listening to learners’ emotional challenges and guidance provided by the school. Data was generated from 176 learners. Liberante (2012:2) highlights the growing importance of student educator relationships. These relationships promote and create a greater sense of school belonging and have the potential to improve academic performance and overall student behaviour. Out of the 176 learners that participated in the study, nearly sixty three percent (62.5%) of learners maintained that their school is supportive towards them and just above sixty percent (60.8%) of learners indicated that there is a positive learner-educator relationship. Other important themes that emerged were; the influence of environmental factors on adolescent drug use and the ways in which learners manage stress. Among the recommendations emanating from the research being that: i) a larger scale research project using the same instrument be undertaken; ii) that a qualitative study with a smaller number of learners in the sampled school be done in order to ascertain how educators may improve support for learners with emotional challenges and the types of support that learners prefer.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error