Drug addiction in South Africa is twice the world norm.
It doesn’t matter which drug you try, even if it’s only once – you have to know you’re playing with fire. The stuff you’re smoking, sniffing or shooting up is going to hit your brain with the force of a lightning bolt. And even after you’ve stopped, these drugs may have scorched the delicate tissue of your brain and changed you into a monster, capable of the most horrifying acts of violence. From the height of ecstasy to the depths of hell. As quick as a flash. Then brain damage for the rest of your life.
In the wake of drug use, one can follow the crimes associated with it. Violent crime in the Western Cape has increased enormously and is attributed to the dramatic rise in the use of TIK (meth). We’re seeing more and more frequently that when people are murdered, they’re not stabbed or shot once or twice, but as many as 60 times.
The crippling damage drugs cause to the brain has remained unseen – until recently.
SPECT stands for single photon emission computerized tomography, a method for imaging the activity of the brain. It shows areas of activity and inactivity. The “holes” in the brain are actually areas that are inactivated by the use of a drug or the practice of some behavior. Abstinence will restore much but not all of the brain function. The more chronic the use, the less restoration of activity. Methamphetamine is more toxic than heroin or cocaine.
“TIK changes the brain chemistry and numbs the moral reaction of users. Killing or raping someone is nothing to them.”
Symptoms of drug abuse
- loss of appetite or ”munchies”
- weight loss
- dilated or constricted pupils
- blood shot eyes
- dry mouth, disorientation
- aggressive behaviour
- mood swings
- skin lesions
- nausea and vomiting
Who are more likely to start using drugs
Children are more susceptible to start using drugs if they live in a chaotic home environment, have ineffective parents, are neglected, are inappropriately aggressive, shy, poor school performers, or part of a deviant group among whom drug use is approved. According to the Youth Research Council at UNISA, 60% of drug users in the Western Cape are younger then 20 years old.
Signs of possible drug abuse:
· Declining grades/ dropping out of activities
· Use of deodorizers or incense
· Disappearance of valuables and money
· Lying/ hiding things
· Running into trouble at school/ law
· Secretive about friends/ possessions & activities
· Demanding more privacy
· New interest in friends or fads
· Use of eye drops
You can do a self-test quiz on addiction: Substance Abuse Quiz.
You can chat to a facilitator if you need more help. The Live Chat helpline is text-based chat that is online every Sunday : 18h00-20h30; Monday- Thursday from 19h00 – 21h30.
The service is free and you may stay anonymous. Click on LIVE CHAT.
For more information on recovery: Recovery from Addiction
You can book counselling sessions for Substance Addiction, Alcohol Addiction & Gambling Addiction with the following therapists: