Empty spaces on pharmacy shelves, and shortages of some cold and asthma medicines as well as appetite suppressants, are unintended consequences of the battle to prevent the manufacture of tik, an addictive methamphetamine widely abused in poor communities in the Western Cape.
South Africans are changing their hard-drug habits, but the fallout from substance abuse remains the same: the destruction of lives, families and communities.
A new study is to put the relationship between illegal drug use and risky sex patterns in South Africa in the spotlight for the first time.
CAPE TOWN, 19 Jun 2006 - South Africa's Western Cape province has so far maintained the lowest HIV prevalence rate in the battle against AIDS, but this could be changing.
Cape Town has become a popular end destination for a bouquet of powerful narcotics including cocaine, heroin and other designer drugs.
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)