DA 'declares war' on tik addiction

The Democratic Alliance on Monday announced it has “declared war” on tik, the highly addictive methamphetamine drug.

Speaking in the Cape Town suburb of Bonteheuwel, DA leader Tony Leon said his party has developed a five-point plan to rid communities of the drug.

On the Cape Flats, tik is responsible for some of the fastest addiction rates ever seen among youngsters, replacing Mandrax as the drug of choice.

It can be smoked, injected, snorted or eaten. Those who smoke tik usually heat the crystals inside a light bulb and inhale the dense, odourless smoke.

Leon said tik use has “spread like a wildfire through our schools, our neighbourhoods and our homes”.

A first step in countering it will be to reclassify pseudoephedrine—the active ingredient in the manufacture of tik—as a schedule-five drug.

“Currently tik can be made in any kitchen, using over-the-counter medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. Reclassifying the drug, which can be replaced with phenyleprine in most products, will make manufacturing tik much more difficult.”

Further steps include more home-based rehabilitation and care centres for abusers, increased funding to South Africa’s Central Drug Authority (CDA), a strengthening of law-enforcement agencies and plans to increase community awareness of the tik problem.

“[This year,] the government only gave the CDA R400 000 to run a nationwide campaign against drug abuse.
This amount is totally inadequate and needs to be tripled, at the very least, in next year’s Budget if we are to raise drug awareness in our communities,” Leon said.

According to one study carried out last year in and around Cape Town, the majority (91%) of teenage users of tik are male and coloured, with an average age of 16.

Some of the long-term effects of methamphetamine use include violent and aggressive behaviour, heart problems and psychological problems.—Sapa

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