Finding the Personal in the Development of School-based, Subs ...

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The prevalence of substance abuse globally has been a cause for concern. South Africa is regarded as one of the countries with the highest substance abuse rates in the world. As a consequence, families, communities and society are seriously impacted and in some instances destroyed. The Western Cape, is one of the provinces hardest hit by this challenge, with youth in particular being affected as they are exposed to illicit substances in various environments. Awareness and prevention programmes remain an important aspect of drug control systems in South Africa. It is against this background that this study investigated the role of schools in the awareness and prevention of substance abuse programmes in the Western Cape. This qualitative study adopted a constructivist grounded theory approach to explore the factors that influenced the development of school-based programmes. A documentary analysis and twelve interviews were used as data collection methods. The study included school principals, educators, and community organisation representatives who were involved in the development and delivery of programmes. The findings revealed that the development of school-based substance-abuse prevention programmes are influenced by the following systemic influences: personal influences, which included personal experience; personal values and beliefs; personal connection, environmental, and relational influences. The emerging framework of this research project is discussed as a useful tool for the development of substance abuse programmes.