Pubdate: Wed, 09 Jun 2004
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 Cape Times
Author: Kashiefa Ajam
Bookmark: (Youth)


"Oh I could not handle it ... I just wanted more and more, over and over .. 
I could not get enough of it."

This was how one of several Mitchell's Plain teenagers responded when 
interviewed by SABC's documentary programme Special Assignment on how the 
powerful drug crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as "tuk-tuk", had 
taken over his life.

Special Assignment ventured into Mitchell's Plain to take a closer look "at 
the dark world of tuk addiction among the youth".

Crystal methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug which is sold in 
drinking straws and smoked using light bulbs.

A 16-year-old girl from Tafelsig displayed her vast knowledge of the drug 
saying it could be obtained in various grades.

"You get the brown sugar which is water-based. But the children want the 
kind that kicks first. And the best kick is oil-based."

Another teenager said when he was released from prison three years ago, 
tuk-tuk had become a "fashion".

"Everybody is using it - primary and high school children.

When we get that feeling, we smoke a whole gram which costs R320. But when 
we are finished we want more. If you are fat and you want a nice (slim) 
figure, it works faster (than dieting)."

A drug dealer in Bellville south said he sold about six straws daily and 
his clients ranged from Grade 8 upwards.

Another said he sold the drugs because he made a profit of up to R6 000 daily.

Johan Smit from the SAPS organised crime unit said amphetamine laboratories 
around Cape Town were raided.

He said the first factory to be raided was in 2001 in Woodstock.

The person who had been arrested had obtained all the information he needed 
about manufacturing the drug from the internet and books.

Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre's Grant Jardine said some of the 
long-term effects of tuk-tuk included heart attacks, the damaging of blood 
vessels and lung infections.

"But I think one of the primary negative effects of drug use, especially 
tuk, is a lost period in the users' lives," said Jardine.

* A repeat of last night's Special Assignment will be screened on Sunday 
night at 10.30pm on SABC3.
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