Drug baffles experts

2016-04-06 23:00
The first look at the new drug which goes by many street names, including ‘Mercedes’, ‘Lacoste’ and ‘Mitsubishi’. For some reason, a metal wire is lodged in the core of the pill.

The first look at the new drug which goes by many street names, including ‘Mercedes’, ‘Lacoste’ and ‘Mitsubishi’. For some reason, a metal wire is lodged in the core of the pill. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Mystery surrounds KwaZulu-Natal’s killer drug as local forensic experts battled to identify some of the ingredients used to make the “Mercedes” pill.

After a sample of the drug, which has left almost a dozen users dead and many more hospitalised, was sent to a local police lab to be tested, forensic experts were left baffled by mysterious ingredients present in the small white pill.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the sample will now be sent to Pretoria for an in-depth analysis.

It was revealed in an anti-drug meeting yesterday that the “Mercedes” drug is not as new as many believe it to be, and has been slowly rearing its head in smaller communities in the province since December last year.

The meeting, held yesterday by the uMgungundlovu South police cluster, called on various government ­departments, local NGOs and city management to partner with police to establish an interim task team to tackle the scourge of drugs in the city and surrounding areas, especially as the circulation of “Mercedes” has begun to grow.

Local anti-drug forum and rehabilitation leaders as well as members from the Office of the Premier, Msunduzi Municipality and various government departments put their heads together to take the first step in the combined, integrated fight against drugs.

Many emphasised the importance of education and creating awareness around the consequences of taking drugs, while others expressed the concerns of their communities.

Speaking at the meeting, uMgungundlovu South cluster commander Major-General Lucas Ngobeni said police are faced with many obstacles when taking down drug dealers.

Ngobeni said that within his cluster, his officers rope in about 20 drug-related arrests per day; but this is still not helping the influx of drugs.

“When one drug dealer is arrested, another three pop up to take his or her place,” he said.

Citing the police’s successes, Ngobeni said that in the Alexandra police precinct, more than 100 drug-related arrests were made since January, of which about 70 were successfully convicted.

In Camperdown, 24 drug-related arrests were made in the three-month period and in the Pietermaritzburg CBD, 340 people were taken into custody.

Plessislaer police also made over 300 drug-related arrests, with 144 successful convictions.

The committee will meet again next week to discuss ways to promote drug awareness campaigns in local schools and other approaches to prevent drug abuse.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  death  |  drugs

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