Oral cannabis, a form of medical marijuana, was ineffective in treating certain types of acute pain and actually increased sensitivity to some other kinds of discomfort, say researchers at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
Drug laws considered outdated are being reviewed in order to improve the state's response to drug and substance abuse, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said on Monday.
Increasing amounts of the drugs commonly known as tik and ice are being manufactured in South Africa, according to a United Nations report, the SABC reported on Wednesday.
Smoking cannabis virtually doubles the risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, researchers say.
The active ingredient in marijuana may stall decline from Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.
Western Cape pre-teens are set to become guinea pigs in a project testing ways to stop young children from smoking. The Medical Research Council and research partners from the United States and Australia are to introduce two pilot programmes in 36 primary schools in the Western and Northern Cape after recent MRC studies found these two provinces to have the highest prevalence of smoking. The programme aims to try out different ways of influencing children not to smoke. One group will be put on a life skills course concentrating on the harmful effects of smoking. Another group will go on an Australian harm reduction programme emphasising that even if you've started, it's not too late to kick the habit. The control group will have no intervention. Set to run for two years - this year and next year - the test programme will be tried out on pupils in Grades 5 to 7. Eminent MRC tobacco researcher Priscilla Reddy, and colleague Ken Resnicow of the University of Michigan in the US will lead the investigation. The other part of the programme will be to strengthen research into the prevention of tobacco use and behavioural change at university level. Postgraduate courses and research will be funded at the University of Cape Town and the University of Natal. Funding for the project will come from the National Institute of Health.(Source: Jeanne van der Merwe: The Cape Argus, 7 April 2003)
South Africa is the regional hub for drug trafficking, and the largest transit zone for illicit drugs in Southern Africa, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Thursday. The country also earned the dubious honour of being upgraded by British officials as the most significant source of cannabis smuggled into the United Kingdom. Interpol listed it as one of the world's top four source countries for the illegal herb, according to the first UNODC country profile on drug and crime in South Africa, launched in Pretoria, on Thursday. While cannabis was the most widely used drug in South Africa, followed by methaqualone (known as Mandrax) and cocaine, the study noted an increase in heroin use, particularly among white school children. Arrests for heroin use increased eight-fold since the mid 1990s and, worryingly, 51 percent of the people treated for heroin addiction in one study said they had injected the drug, a method not previously used in South Africa. This had serious implications for the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. There had also been an increase in the manufacture of drugs, mainly Mandrax, reflected in the discovery of vast quantities of raw chemicals seized in police raids. Drug trafficking and organised crime had grown in South Africa since the mid 1990s, and had drawn on factors like the country's porous borders, the increase in immigrants, and international trade links. An example was the exchange of hijacked cars across South Africa's land borders in return for illicit drugs. There were links between the drug trafficking activities of organised crime groups and other criminal acts, ranging from car hijackings and robberies to the smuggling of firearms, stolen cars, endangered species and precious metals, the report said. While Nigerian syndicates were heavily involved in cocaine and heroin trafficking the report noted that most Nigerian immigrants in South Africa were law abiding. However, there was also prominent involvement in the trade by nationals from Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia, often under the misnomer West African nationals. Crime was still the most pressing and visible social problem in the country, the report said. Violent crimes, such as attempted murder, aggravated robbery and violence against women and children, had shown a general increase since 1994 with a slight downturn in 2001 and 2002. Reported rates of rape are at the most serious levels in the world, and there is much concern about the increase in violence against women and in particular against children, the study found. Source: IRIN, Johannesburg, 7 November 2002.