Drug control law
Drug laws considered outdated are being reviewed in order to improve the state's response to drug and substance abuse, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said on Monday.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.
South Africa remains the largest producer of dagga in southern Africa, the number of illegal drug laboratories has risen sharply, in Cape Town the use of tik has soared, and South Africans are the world's biggest users of Mandrax.
Nine years ago one youth in 20 in the Western Cape was taking drugs. Now the figure is one in four. This has been highlighted in a provincial Medical Research Council (MRC) survey of the prevalence of drug abuse among people younger than 20.
There has been a dramatic increase in the use of heroin in Southern and particularly South Africa since 2000, Rob Boone, head of the United Nations's regional office on drugs and crime said on Tuesday. He was speaking at the release of the office's report for 2003 in Pretoria. About South Africa, it says: Just under 10% of patients in treatment state heroin as their primary or secondary drug of abuse. Gary Lewis, programme manager for drugs in the office, said heroin was previously only used by middle-class people. Now there are more heroin users among the impoverished black communities in South Africa's urban areas, the report says. Between a third and a half of users injected the drug, which increases the risk of HIV/Aids, it says. But the report also point out that even drug users who do not share needles were more likely to contract the virus than non-users. Compared with non-drug users, drug users are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour such as sex with multiple ... partners and unprotected sex. Lewis added that treatment facilities did not have sufficient capacity to deal with the number of addicts. (Source: Sapa, Mail and Guardian, 19 August 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.
DISTRICT DRUG MANAGEMENT: Lessons Learnt from the ISDS in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape - ISDS Technical Report 9
Health Systems Trust
Sharing experiences gained in drug management in three ISDS sites with other health districts in South Africa