“ONLY YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE”
One in three SA teens is an addict’
Number of young users ‘exploding’,
As many as one in three teenagers in South Africa is addicted to drugs and alcohol, according to the SA National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca).
Shamim Garda, national executive director of Sanca, said this alarming figure was gleaned from the number of 13- to 18-year-olds presenting themselves for treatment at Sanca’s 34 clinics countrywide.
And experts believe that the age of first experimentation has dropped from the early teens to between nine and 10 years old.
“What’s so disturbing is the fact that these children are getting addicted to drugs and alcohol at younger ages,”
“The problem starts with nine- to 15-year-olds who experiment with cigarettes, alcohol, dagga and mandrax. They start to use more than one drug and get addicted to drugs such as heroin, Cat and crack cocaine.”
Schoolchildren, are the drug peddlers’ market. “Teenagers that are hooked become adults that are hooked. They stay addicts for a long time or die of it. It’s just a spiral downwards – and ruins their lives.”
Drug use is “exploding” in township communities, . “We are seeing more drugging among children and teenagers from poor communities. Drugs are coming from township children going to urban schools and children in urban areas going into townships.
On the weekends they have parties and take drugs – we’re seeing a seepage of heroin and cocaine into both the Gauteng suburbs and the township rehab centres, especially in Gauteng.”
“It’s quite common for an 18- or 19-year-old to have a drug problem, but lately in the townships we are seeing children as young as 11 not only using, but addicted,”
“Children use drugs like mandrax to show they’re cool and quickly become physically dependent. It has a sedative effect; children feel at ease about the reality of their lives.”
Families are losing parents to HIV/Aids and grandparents on pension are forced to support entire families. “This creates a vicious cycle of child-headed households, drug abuse, violence and crime. In desperation, girls often turn to prostitution and boys turn to crime to support their families and drug habits.
“The children call it compromise. If they receive transport money and food for the day, they will walk to school and go hungry, pool their money and share one tablet,”
Captain Jan Combrinck, a co-ordinator for the SA Police Service’s Gauteng drug enforcement programme, said up to 25% of schoolchildren were drug addicts in Gauteng.
Since 1994, he has been traversing the province, educating 500 000 school children, tertiary students and communities about the dangers of drug abuse. And what are we doing about it?
Drugs were becoming cheaper and more accessible: “Years ago you would pay R300 for a gram of cocaine. Now the dealers are packing it into smaller quantities – you can buy a R20 bag or R50 bag of what you want.”
Drugs did not discriminate and struck young people from all walks of life.
“The biggest problems among schoolchildren are dagga, mandrax, crack cocaine, Ecstasy, tik, Cat, magic mushrooms, heroin and LSD.
A Report from Captain Jan Combrinck
“These drugs are all over – our suburbs and townships are full of them. Sometimes you’ll find dealers focus on certain areas but the buying power is spread out now and everyone is affected …
What makes it very hard to police is the fact that these children are supplied by other children, often at schools.”
At one primary school I visited, I found 15 children on dagga and alcohol – two were sniffing heroin. I recently received a referral from a court in Pretoria that a nine-year-old had a problem with Cat.
“These children are so young but are already so streetwise – they know what the drug does and where to get it.
What angers me is that a drug merchant has the guts to sell to a nine-year-old child.”
Combrinck said there were not enough good role models for teenagers and that contributed to rising drug abuse.
“Parents are just either out there to make money or keeping the pots cooking. They aren’t there for their children.
“The drugs make these children feel better for the short term and that’s the danger … As adults, we take drugs for three years and drop dead but these are still young bodies – they think they’ll live forever, that they can easily leave the drugs behind.”
Society is “losing its values and beliefs”, “There is a general breakdown in family relationships. We also need to have far more discipline in the home.” Children should be taught, or to be aware of dangers of drugs so that they can make an informed choices,
Teenagers’ new drug of choice Lately
SA witnesses massive upsurge in use of nyaope – a potent mix of cheap heroin and dagga CALLED Nyaope, Kataza, Ungu or Pinch – it’s a potent cocktail of dagga and cheap heroin and the latest drug of choice for thousands of South African teenagers.
The mix is referred to by different names throughout the country. There has been a massive surge in its use in Mpumalanga and northern Gauteng in recent months.
The surge in nyaope use has led to more addicts becoming addicted to heroin.
As a result, Sanca is predicting major growth in intravenous heroin use within the next two years. This would lead to an increase in HIV-Aids because users tend to share and re-use needles, exposing themselves to the virus.
Elosine Auckamp, of Sanca’s Thusong treatment centre, in Eersterus, Pretoria, said more than 10 teenagers from the area seek treatment at the centre for nyaope addiction every month.
She added: “And those are just the ones we know about; hundreds more never seek treatment. Sometimes we get up to 14 new cases a month. The users are typically between 14 and 27.”
It’s the low-grade heroin in the drug that forces addicts to use increasingly stronger mixtures of it until they are entirely heroin dependent.
Dagga, experts say, is a gateway to harder drugs because it is more well-known, easily available and perceived by users to be less harmful.
Andreas Plüddemann, a researcher at the Medical Research Council, said his organisation’s most recent drug monitoring report, for January to June last year, showed a staggering increase in nyaope use in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, where it is referred to as pinch.
He said that 22percent of all patients treated for drug addiction in those provinces are heroin abusers, and it is believed that many started by smoking the Pinch mixture.
Most of South Africa’s heroin comes from Mozambique and enters the country through Mpumalanga.
In Western Cape, where the drug tik is widely abused, numbers of heroin addicts have increased and they now constitute 15percent of patients in rehabilitation centres.
Plüddemann said the mix, known as “ungu” in Western Cape, was increasingly being used by tik addicts as well.
In Gauteng, about 10percent of addicts in treatment list heroin as their primary drug.
“SA drug use double that of world norm”
Filed Under (crime) by Jan Hennop on 16-07-2009 and tagged crime, drugs, South Africa
Drug consumption in South Africa is currently twice the world norm and the use of cocaine and dagga has increased by 20 percent in two years, the Central Drugs Authority (CDA) has said.
“The drug problem in South Africa remains very serious with drug usage being twice the world norm in most cases…and we are only dealing with what we know about…this is only the tip of the iceberg,”
said Dr David Bayever of the CDA, a government drug control organisation.
In 2006 2.52 million people used dagga and this increased to 3.2 million in 2008, said Bayever speaking at the release in Pretoria of the United Nations 2009 World Drug Report.
The use of cocaine increased from 0.24 million in 2006 to 0.29 million in 2008, the Sapa news agency reported.
However the use of opiates such as heroin decreased by 20 percent during the same time period.
Accordingly in 1996 one percent of South Africans were in treatment for heroin abuse while in 2008 those in treatment for
this addiction increased between eight and 24 percent.
The number of South Africans in treatment for cocaine addiction increased from 1.5 percent in 1996 to 17.5 percent in 2008.
Bayever said that 15 percent of South Africa’s population had a drug problem and that the country needed to change its approach to dealing with the issue as social structure continued to change.
There were more single mothers raising children in the country at present than before and child-headed households had doubled between 2002 and 2007.
An increase in child-headed households from 701,000 in 2007 to 5.7 million was expected by 2015.
This would have negative effects on these children in terms of their behaviour and achievement, possibly leading to drug use.
The Fifa Soccer World Cup was also likely to bring an increase in demand as well as drug trafficking while the current recession in South Africa may not necessarily affect drug users.
Worrying statistics folks. How do you think our city is affected by drugs and how will it become increasingly more affected? Visit our group Letsemeng and give us your opinion.