A public advocacy non profit org which exists for all South Africans, to highlight the epidemic of addiction in South Africa today, and challenge government and corporates on relevant issues.
The Addiction Action Campaign (AAC), was started informally in 2005 by Warren Whitfield and became formally registered in 2007 as a non-profit organization. The organization now boasts over 4000 members nationally which include celebrities like, Louise Saint-Claire, Andrew Sorrill, Carl Beukes, Jason Firmani, Pieter Naude, Ferdinand Rabie, Milan Murray, Karen Zoid, Louw Venter, Vanessa Raphaely, Matthew Stewardson, Udi ya-Nakamhela, Robin Auld, Annie Malan, Hakeem Kae-Kazim and Nobel laureate; Zackie Achmat.
The AAC exists for the benefit of all South Africans regardless of race, religion, culture or creed. The epidemic of addiction in our country is massive, far greater than most people are aware of. One normally thinks of addiction in terms of illegal drugs and alcohol, but millions of South Africans are addicted to a vast range of addictions such as illegal substances, legal substances as well as behaviours.
The A.A.C. exists to reduce the harm caused by the existence and sale of addictive products or services whether they are legal or illegal. One must therefore focus on the demand and on Harm Reduction.
The demand for addictive substances etc. will never end unless people are properly educated from at least the age of 7 years old. However, suppliers must be held financially accountable for the rehabilitation costs of people wishing to receive treatment as industries are responsible to a certain degree.
We have a clear vision and mission for South Africa and we believe that it is possible to greatly reduce the effects of substance abuse and addiction on society.
Some recent statistics according to the UNODC.
• 15% of South Africans are problem drug users. We believe this figure to be higher.
• That does not include people who are addicted to behaviours like gambling, sex, pornography or over eating.
• South African’s consume illegal substances at twice the rate of the world norm.
Some recent statistics which The AAC has discovered from visiting high schools
• When asked to admit publically, in front of their peers without school teachers present, between 15% and 30% of high school pupils will admit that they have a substance abuse problem and believe that they need help.
• The pupils who need treatment, from only one high school, would fill all the available beds in addiction treatment centres countrywide, if they could afford to pay the minimum treatment fee of around R25000per month.
• 99% of South Africans have no access to addiction treatment because it is, unaffordable, geographically inaccessible, not available in all 11 languages, culturally irrelevant to most.
• The casino industry made R15,6 Billion last year. The AAC estimates that they made more than R1.5 Billion from 5% of their gamblers, who are problem gamblers.
• Yet they gave R15 Million to The National Responsible Gambling Program.
• Some hospital trauma centres report that more than 80% of the cases they treat are alcohol related.
• Half the people found murdered are over the legal blood alcohol limit.
1. South Africa is addicted to tax from corporates who sell addictive products or services.
2. Industries which sell addictive products should be financially accountable for the harm they cause.
3. The country's consciousness about the severity of addiction in S.A. needs to change. Government must acknowlege this truth.
4. More people in S.A. are addicted to a substance or behaviour than there are people living with HIV/AIDS.
5. The most dangerous addictive services and products are all legal. Sin Tax should be used exclusively for treatment, education and prevention.