Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jun 2004
Source: Natal Witness, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 The Natal Witness.
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Nine-Year-Old Addicted To Heroin

Drug dealers are now targeting KwaZulu-Natal primary school children, a 
Durban police spokesman said on Thursday.

"The selling of drugs at schools is a big concern, but what is even a 
bigger concern is that drug pushers are now targeting primary school 
pupils," said Superintendent Willie Louw, the commander of Operation West, 
a team that investigates West African drug syndicates.

He said police have raided several schools in the past and conducted 
searches, but it is very difficult to arrest any pupils with drugs in their 

The raids, Louw added, were done at the request of school principals.

He said the mainly Nigerian drug lords recruit runners to infiltrate the 

"It's not only in Durban but in the whole of the province. There isn't a 
school they do not target."

Provincial Education Department spokesman Mandla Msibi said while there are 
certain schools where drugs are an issue, especially those in urban areas, 
on the whole there is no big problem that they are aware of.

He said the department has recently compiled a list of schools where drugs, 
among other things such as security and teaching standards, are a problem 
and need to be addressed.

Louw said teachers and especially parents need to be alerted to the problem.

"It all starts at home. Parents need to give love and discipline at home."

It is not only at schools that pushers sell drugs to pupils, but after 
hours and at parties, he said.

Louw cited an example of a nine-year-old Durban girl who is presently 
receiving treatment for a heroin problem.

He said that during a recent raid they found girls as young as 12 involved 
in sex orgies with older men because they needed to feed their drug habits.

"Drug lords have reduced the price of drugs to make them more affordable to 
pupils," he said.

Crack cocaine sells from between R80 to R100, Mandrax from R30 to R100 and 
Ecstasy from R50 to R100, "which is very affordable for schoolchildren".

Dr A. Jeewa, director of Minds Alive Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centre 
in Westville, said there has been a definite increase in the number of 
schoolchildren using drugs.

In the past two months he has treated four 14-year-old boys who were 
addicted to dagga, rohypnol and cocaine.

"It's a fashionable thing and peer pressure. A child will start using drugs 
to fit in," he said.

Jeewa believes random testing is the only way to beat the problem.
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