South Africa ranks high in producing Marijuana, consuming mandrax and Nyaope

South Africa has made it easy for everyone to access drugs.

Alcohol, nyaope and heroin are some of the drugs that have gripped many young South Africans and thus created a window for crime.

According to the National Development and Research Institute, South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers of cannabis and consumer of mandrax.

In April alone, cases of drug-related suicides rocketed in Eersterust, east of Pretoria, prompting the community to call on the government and law enforcement to urgently intervene.

Among them was the mother of a 22-year-old from Eersterust, who said her son’s heroin addiction badly affected her family.

She said it all started when her son turned 18. “When we discovered he was using drugs it was just after his matric. He started acting out of character.

“He comes from a good home. He had everything, and maybe that’s what’s caused it all.

“I think the divorce between his father and I hurt him a lot and that could be the reason for his drug use,” she said.

The boy was only 11 when his parents got divorced, and according to the mother, he took the split really hard, and his behaviour spiralled out of control.

Despite the impact of her son’s addiction, the mother, who requested anonymity, said she had hope that her son would become clean.

“Addiction is an illness; it is not something that switches off,” she said.

He started stealing from home, and then from from neighbours to get money to buy his next fix. “He was eventually arrested, and that was a low point in our lives,” she said.

But it has all been a learning experience for her. “I experienced court procedures. The parents of a child in prison are treated like a prisoner or a criminal when they visit them behind bars; the humiliation.

“You are being judged for your child being in prison. At the beginning it was hard, but later on I got used to it.

“It is a learning curve, and this is what other mothers are experiencing. I had to go through that situation to understand the life of other parents; it's selfless.”

Research has shown that in South Africa there is a burden of “secondary risks”, including injury, premature non-natural deaths, and foetal alcohol syndrome due to drug and substance abuse.

“The social costs of alcohol-related trauma and accidents far exceed those of other countries, and intoxication is a major factor in road accidents.”

According to the government “the relationship between alcohol and illegal drugs, crime, and violence is both direct and complex.”

It also said 8.4% (2.2m) of the South African population used cannabis in 2004 as against the global norm of 4%; 8.9% (2.5m) in 2005/6, and 3.2m in 2008, an increase of nearly 20%.

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