War on drugs

2015-05-05 06:00

Since July 2012, Metro Police officials have confiscated more than 70 069 units of narcotics.

The confiscations amount to an estimated street value of R3.23m.

Through efforts to convince residents that drug addiction affects everyone, Mayor Patricia de Lille launched the second phase of a substance abuse campaign on Wednesday 18 March.

“The campaign we launch today is the next phase of the substance abuse campaign that we initiated two years ago. This year we are building on the message that drug use affects every single one of us, by declaring that substance abuse is everyone’s problem, and that combating the scourge is everyone’s responsibility,” De Lille says.

Two years ago the “Don’t Start, Be Smart” campaign, which focused on drug users, was initiated.

Last year the aim of the campaign was changed to address the problem of demand.

“The campaign was a rousing success. We had an 883% increase in the number of calls to our 24-hour helpline, reached 4.8 million people through traditional media channels, and an additional 2 million through social media,” De Lille explains.

As part of this year’s campaign, the City of Cape Town is urging residents to report drug dealers in order to address the supply problem.

“For too long these criminals have crippled our communities and ruined the lives of our children. The community can put a stop to this,” continues De Lille.

“All that stands between a drug dealer operating on the streets or going to jail is the information that residents can supply. We need people to come forward and give us that information so that we can take the necessary action to incarcerate these criminals.”

This campaign forms part of a R37.8m investment by the City to combat substance abuse in the metro this year.

Most of this funding has been apportioned to the Metro Police, who work with police to restrict the supply and distribution of drugs.

Substance abuse is often linked to criminal acts such as theft, robbery and housebreaking and at the core of the gang economy.

“We would also like to encourage those who need assistance in fighting their addiction to make use of our 24-hour helpline.”

She says by calling the helpline, addicts can access one of the five drug and alcohol treatment sites, where the City offers a free 16-week outpatient treatment programme.

De Lille explains that these programmes enable recovering addicts to receive support from their families while they attend the treatment centres.

“It must be emphasised that our efforts alone will not end the devastation of drugs,” she insists.

De Lille also explains for the project to work, communities needed to work with authorities to combat drugs.

“Let us work together to face and fight our drug problem,” she concludes. V

Anyone with information on illegal activities or drug dealing are urged to report it by calling the City of Cape Town’s 24-hour helpline on 080 043 5748

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