On Friday Jericho attended the Free State Provincial Substance Abuse Forum. Gregory Wermer from Heidedal Local Drug Action committee gave a gripping presentation on 'The alarming escalating problem of substance abuse in Heidedal' which made us realise again how large this problem is and motivated us to work even harder to help fight this problem. He said that substance abuse is something nobody can run away from, it's everybody's business. He said crime is escalating, SASSA lines are getting longer, police are over-burdened and hospitals are overflowing because of the availability and use of drugs. He started the HLDAC out of desperation. Drug dealers are selling through school fences to primary school children. At one primary school, 95 children were identified sniffing khat and if that's only one school think about the impact of many schools. Drugs don't only effect the person using them, they effect the whole family. Drugs and human trafficking go hand in hand. The young girls sell their bodies for drugs and it's a real problem. There has been an increase in child prostitution. Substance abuse cannot be won in isolation. HLDAC partnered with the Foundation for a Drug Free World and organized a march in Heidedal which over 4,000 people took part in. They handed out educational booklets to raise awareness and warn people of the harm of using drugs and let them know where to get help. Early detection, random substance abuse tests, are not being performed in schools even though awareness and drug education programmes are required in schools by the Department of Education. The profile of drug dealers has completely changed, it's now anybody who's experienced financial difficulties turn to selling drugs. That's the reality in the community. Police stats were looked at which reflected that from 2013 to 2016 drug related crime increased by 200%. The kids in Heidedal are despetate, all they think about is how they can get and use drugs. We need to work together and support each other in order to make a positive impact in our communities.