Is crystal meth a common drug in South Africa?

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Is crystal meth a common drug in South Africa?

18 November, 2022Articles, News

In Cape Town, South Africa, crystal drugs use have exploded very quickly. Known locally as “tik,” the drug was virtually unknown as late as 2003. Now, it is the city’s main drug of abuse, even when alcohol is included. Tik is usually smoked, using a straw in a light bulb. Grant Jardine, Director of the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, explains the increase in tik use and what impact this drug has on users.

By how much did Crystal drugs in South Africa increased?

There is absolutely no doubt that the increase in the use of tik has been an epidemic. Four years ago, less than one per cent of our clients used tik. Currently, more than half of our clients have tik as their primary drug of abuse. It’s been an incredibly rapid increase over a very short space of time.

Why are so many people taking Crystal drugs in South Africa?

There are several reasons. Some of it is generational in that every generation has new music, dress sense and so on, and they also like new drugs. It used to be mandrax (methaqualone), and tik is used in a similar way. Tik is cheap, widely available, easy to make, the precursors are also available, the recipe is on the Internet, so there are lots of small operations making tik.

Dealing with substance abuse or even talking about addiction needs to be handled with respect. Vital to the recovery process is purposeful extraction from the pressures of daily life, so affording patients a safe place to start the healing process. If you or a loved one is in trouble, contact the centre today and speak to a counsellor.

Look for these indicators of possible Tik abuse:

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Changes in appearance (clothes, body hygiene)
  • Erratic behaviour (aggression, over-confidence, violence)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity and rapid speech
  • Symptoms of psychosis (hallucinations and delusions)
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Drug paraphernalia: light bulbs, glass straws

Tests of wastewater in two sites in the East Rand and Cape Town for residual methamphetamine in 2020 found that estimated meth use levels were among the highest reported in the world. This suggests that the number of people who use crystal meth in South Africa, and possibly across the region, may be far higher than national drugs monitoring and health programs, currently believe. There is a strong and growing demand for Crystal drugs in South Africa, and Afghan meth is contributing to meeting this need.

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