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Concern over drug use in the community

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Concern over drug use in the community

by Reyana Nacerodien
31 Jan 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Most crimes are in some way connected to drugs, and drugs are as much of a problem in affluent areas as in poor areas. So says Paul Adriaanse, a resident substance abuse counsellor at the Jim Ferris Centre in Ottery and member of Alcohol and Drug Concerns in Wynberg.

Adriaanse, a former Mandrax addict, says that the drug scene may be relatively new but substance abuse has been around for a long, long time, and can be linked to many of the social ills we experience daily. Adriaanse says that, in the regular drug awareness talks he delivers at mostly primary schools, the children are very knowledgeable about the topic because of what they have seen and heard.

Experiences of the local police support Adriaanse's claims.

They say that they are faced daily with cases that are linked to drug use. What's more, schools are especially targeted by drug peddlers, making it vital to address the problem in the classroom.

Adriaanse says, "I deal mostly with primary schools now because there is a different dynamic in high schools. Even the younger kids in primary schools know what the drugs are, or have some knowledge about them, which shows that there is some level of exposure to it in some way."

Local schools regularly make use of police and other groups' awareness campaigns and when People's Post (17 October) reported on Education Minister Naledi Pandor's suggestion to conduct random drug tests in schools, all the schools that were contacted agreed.

Annis de Bruyn, principal at Zwaanswyk High School, says, "We've got a policy about drug-related problems that has been in existence for three years.

"We work closely with the Kirstenhof Police, who do random drug searches at the school using sniffer dogs.

"It is not such a huge problem for us but we do keep a look-out for it."

Regular body and bag searches are conducted at Shiloah Christian School, says Vanessa Maxwell, the principal.

"The type of drugs that are popular now can't be seen or smelled and we are experiencing a lot of aggressive behaviour in our schools that was never there before.

"We haven't had any experiences as such here at the school, but we can't really say, because our children come from communities where drugs are readily available," she says.

But Inspector Angie Latchman, Diep River Police spokesperson, says it is a misconception that drugs are a problem in some areas and not in others.

"There is no difference between poor and affluent areas. You might find better quality drugs can be obtained in affluent areas, but that's the only difference," she says.

She says that tik, heroin balls, dagga, Mandrax and ecstasy tablets were common drugs found in the station's jurisdiction.

"The problem exists in both affluent and poor areas, and can be linked to numerous crimes ranging from housebreaking and theft to assault."

Inspector Latchman warns that members of the community should be aware of the drug problem in the area because drugs pose a very real problem and threat.

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