Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jun 2006
Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)
Copyright: 2006 Cape Argus.
Author: Philda Essop


Tafelsig has overtaken Manenberg as the area in the province with the 
highest drug consumption, says Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool.

Speaking at the opening of the country's first public opiate 
detoxification unit at the Stikland Hospital yesterday, Rasool said 
the administration had identified the 10 worst drug areas.

Tafelsig was in top position, followed by Manenberg. Other areas 
include Belhar, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Paarl.

Tik was the drug of choice and the entry-level drug.

"Tik leads to heroin (abuse). Over 18 000 people in the Western Cape 
are addicted to it. It is a frightening statistic. When tik cannot 
satisfy them any more, they move on to heroin."

Quoting recent statistics by the Medical Research Council, Rasool 
said 25% of those in drug treatment centres were under 20.

While dagga and Mandrax were still the most common illicit drugs, tik 
had become the primary substance of abuse since last year.

The province was only at the start of putting together a drug master 
plan, Rasool said. Such a plan should include the reduction of demand 
by preventing youth experimenting with drugs; reducing the supply by 
acting harshly against those selling drugs; and the rehabilitation of 
those addicted to drugs.

"To kickstart the implementation of this plan, we have significantly 
increased our anti-drug budget from R6.7 million to R15m this year.

"The impact of the financial investment will significantly increase 
the treatment capacity of the public sector, which currently stands 
at just under 300 patients."

Traditional methods of rehabilitation would not suffice. "We need to 
shift from narrow in-patient care to community-based care.

'We are working through an appropriate model with the UN agency on 
drugs. This has to be multisectoral and based on the training of 
community members as rehabilitation workers.

"For this reason, 300 volunteers are being trained in the 10 worst areas."
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