Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jul 2008
Source: Daily News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2008 The Daily News.
Author: Arthi Sanpath


South Africa is a major transhipment location for illicit drugs and
drug use in the country continues to grow slowly, says the latest
United Nations World Drug Report to be released on Wednesday.

The report also shows that South Africa is the major grower of dagga
on the continent, with the drug also the most popular across the world.

According to the report, to be officially launched in Pretoria on
Wednesday, the world drug situation "remains favourable over the long

And in South Africa Senior Supt Deven Naicker, national head of
narcotics for organised crime, said yesterday that the use of drugs is
"not as bad as other southern African countries such as Angola and

Statistics show that cocaine use continues to expand in South Africa,
because African countries are used as "transhipment" locations.

Naicker said Durban has always been a "high risk" area for shipments
because of the busy port. His department is responsible for some of
the data in the report.

Cannabis continues to dominate the world's illicit drug markets with 8
percent of users found in Africa. The majority of cannabis seizures in
2006 were reported from Mexico, followed by the US and then South Africa.

Amphetamine usage in South Africa has been slowly increasing over the
past few years and much of this growth was fuelled by increasing
methamphetamine use in the country.

"The number of dismantled methamphetamine (known as Tik) laboratories
in South Africa increased 55 percent from 2005 to 2006, and
manufacture growth appears to be for increasing domestic consumption,"
said the report.

It also states that over the last few years there have been strong
increases in treatment admissions for heroin in the Western Cape,
Gauteng and in the Durban and Pietermaritzburg areas.

Naicker said the country has had many major drug busts. "Every drug
bust is significant because then the market price of the drug rises as
a result of the shortfall, making it unaffordable for some."

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations office
on drugs and crime, said that drug use was limited to 5 percent of the
world's adult population and this was an "impressalsoive

The report also states that there has been a surge in the supply of
illicit drugs in 2007.

"The current upsurge due to supply together with the development of
new trafficking routes, mostly through Africa, could eventually
strengthen demand where it already exists and create new markets for
some of the world's deadliest substances."

The report concludes that more resources were needed to prevent people
from taking drugs, to treat those who are dependent and to reduce the
adverse health and social consequences of drug abuse.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin