Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jun 2016
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2016 Cape Times
Author: Piet Mare


Dear Editor and Quinton

The article which appeared in Wednesday's
newspaper: "Legalise it, says General Vearey" needs further attention.

It is very much one-sided, and speaks of a very
narrow mind on this topic. The only thing said of
any meaning was a bigger focus on prevention.
Yet, this needs much, much more emphasis. As a
matter of fact, it needs massive national
emphasis. An article in this week's Eike Stad
newspaper, the local weekly publication in
Stellenbosch, should also be read. Drugs are
often the result of crime, and not the other way round.

The SAPS, as usual, is abdicating the
responsibility to fight crime, and has most
definitely a soft approach on drugs. They do not
have much interest in solving murders, let alone
dealing with challenges regarding drugs. The
investigation regarding the De Zalze murder case
in Stellenbosch has, after 20 months, shown nothing so far.

I have been working for more than two years on a
daily basis as a manager and life coach, with
people recovering from addiction at a halfway
house in the bigger Cape Town. It is just about
always much more traumatic for friends and family than the addict itself.

Yes, fighting drugs has long been lost. Amongst
many, the following reasons are but a few:

Drugs are not the primary reason for conditions
on the Cape Flats and other mainly coloured
suburbs. It has been a culture of lawlessness and
crime over a long time, fuelled by the presence of drugs.

When speaking about drugs, it is ridiculous to
put the focus on the mainly traditional coloured
areas. It is as prominent in any other suburb in
Cape Town and anywhere in South Africa.

One wonders if the general's perception also
means that dagga, tik, heroin and cocaine will be
on sale together with Coca-Cola, meat pies and
chocolates during breaks at school tuckshops.

All so-called statistics of any nature merely
reflect a number of recordings on drug use and
admissions. There is not a single institution in
South Africa that has the faintest idea of the magnitude of this problem.

The youngest "known" drug dealer in Cape Town is
12 years young, in one of the best schools, and a
girl, making a fortune out of selling drugs
during school time. And Vearey would like to see this legalised.

Just about every headmaster of so-called "model"
schools would deny that there is a problem for
fear of the image of the school. Not a single
school is free of illegal drug activity. There is
no such thing as "Not in my school".

And then there are parents in denial, adamant in
expressing their trust by saying: "Not my child",
until they find a used syringe under the bed in the sleeping room.

Many drug institutions or centres find so-called
drug rehabilitation programmes lucrative from a
financial point of view. Where a state rehab
could cost between R6 000 and R10 000 for a five
to six-week programme, private institutions will
cost between R30 000 and R65 000 for similar programmes.

A well-known rehab centre catering for mostly
foreign addicts, could charge as much as =8035 000
(R587 000) for a similar programme. Most of these
patients relapse with days after leaving the
rehab centre, and are always welcomed back at a further cost.

I have not heard of many success stories in more
than two years. They are actually very few and
far apart. Few dispute that the success rate for
drug and alcohol abuse is less than 3 percent.
This is very scary. Drug concoctions with deadly
effects are being manufactured in garages,
kitchens and toilets. New kids on the block such
as krokodil, nyaope, yellow honey and mercedes are but just a few.

The medical profession does not want to see drug
addicts being rehabilitated because they realise
that a patient cured is a customer lost.

There is really so much more to share as this
problem is spiralling out of control. It is not
time to legalise. It is time to inform on a
massive scale. I hope your newspaper may be
willing to facilitate creating huge platforms to
let the hard-core issues surface in Cape Town.

I also hope you consider printing the other side of this article soon.

Piet Mare

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom