• Gwarega Chibaya University of South Africa
  • Jeanette Maritz



illicit drug use, youth, learners, secondary school, wellbeing


The use of illicit drugs among secondary school learners is increasing and, therefore, poses a grave threat to public and social health. A qualitative approach was used to explore and describe the experiences of secondary school learners regarding the use of illicit drugs. Twelve secondary school learners participated in this study. Data were collected through in-depth individual face-to-face interviews and field notes. Data were analysed using Tesch’s method. Illicit drugs had an influence on both the internal and external environment of the secondary school learner. The initial enjoyment of drug use led to addiction and directed a downward spiral causing behavioural problems, emotional distress, physical and social challenges, and often resulted in conflict with the law. School grades dropped or learners failed grades. Participants wanted to recapture their lives, they needed support from parents, teachers and professionals as well as the internal and external resources to do so.


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How to Cite

Chibaya, Gwarega, and Jeanette Maritz. 2016. “ILLICIT DRUG USE BY SECONDARY SCHOOL LEARNERS: RECLAIMING A LIFE”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 28 (3):264-77.