Drugs like ordering a pizza

2014-06-27 00:00

DURBAN drug use is “democratic” but party drugs are generally found in more affluent areas.

And users — who have various tastes depending on the areas they are in — are no longer buying their drugs on street corners but having them delivered “like a pizza”, with Umhlanga being the home of the party drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine.

Police in Durban have already had several successes with high haul cases currently sitting before various courts throughout the city, which anti-drug campaigners have lauded, claiming it has saved the city from having more addicts.

But while users may have different tastes depending on areas, drug use is “democratic” and not solely based on class or race.

Director of Sanca Durban alcohol and drug centres Carol du Toit said drugs are available and used in the entire Durban area.

“It would be fair to say that there are drug hot spots in areas adjacent to the harbour, and that whoonga is a challenge in informal settlements and lower income areas. At the other end of the scale, drug abuse takes place in affluent areas among the higher income groups. This is often viewed as ‘recreational’ use, but frequently ends in admission to a treatment centre,” said Du Toit.

She said no person has ever experimented or recreationally used drugs with the intention of becoming addicted.

She said according to their data collected at treatment centres, there had been a significant increase in admissions for heroin-related abuse such as smoking whoonga.

Whoonga use is especially prevalent in young people between 13 and 25 years of age. The majority of whoonga addicts tend to come from the lower-income groups due to the fact that whoonga is relatively cheap. However, pure heroin users come from middle- and upper-income groups due to the price factor. No drug abuse is completely class driven.

Haden Searles, CPF chairperson for Durban North, said the drug trade in Umhlanga is thriving, especially within the night club scene.

“We are dealing with party drugs by people who order what they want and have it delivered as if it were a pizza. You ring, they bring. We find the odd guy selling dagga at a service station but we have also seen an increase in young adults buying designer dagga, which is much more potent than the traditional Durban Poison or the zol grown in Lesotho,” said Searles.

He said the prevalence of drugs has increased with “magic mushrooms”, which have a hallucinogenic affect, and abuse of prescribed medicine becoming more common.

“We have cases of teenagers crushing Ritalin and then snorting it. There is also more cocaine in the area, while at concerts at a local venue, we have found crystal methamphetamine. We have also seen people in their early 20s becoming dealers. Many of these youngsters are from affluent homes and believe they will not get addicted, and maintain they won’t use cheap drugs like heroin.”

A police source confirmed that the majority of the city’s drugs come through the harbour or by road from Johannesburg or bordering countries.

“Drugs are very accessible and one does not have to look far to find them. Our intelligence shows that many dealers are fronting with legitimate businesses,” said the source.

Hoosen Moola, who heads up the city’s inner city regeneration programme called I-Trump, said in various slum buildings within the CBD drugs are found. “The impact on the city and the city centre is very negative as it comes with the associated problem of crime and dependency.”

Drugs busts before the courts

• Drugs worth R6,5 million were found among saris from India at Durban Airport on October 24. The saris concealed 36 kg of crystal methamphetamine (known as tik in South Africa). The trial of Lindy Walker (28), Abel du Plessis (29) and Sibongile Mthembu (36) will start on July 1 at Verulam Magistrate’s Court.

• There was a R41 million drug bust in Winston Park (Hillcrest) on December 2. The several accused are being tried in a Pinetown Court. They were found in possession of R21,4 million worth of heroin straws, R4,1 million of Mandrax tablets, R15 million of heroin powder and equipment. The matter has been set down for July 23 to be transferred to a regional court.

• On February 11, 1,6 kg of cocaine was found on a Toti woman at the airport. The drugs were strapped to the body of Jo-Anne Efne Farrell who arrived on a flight from Dubai. The street value of the recovered cocaine was more than R540 000. Farrell has been referred for mental assessment. The case will sit at Verulam Court on July 10.

• On 17 February 2014, Eugene Brits (43) was arrested at uShaka Airport, allegedly with 1,5 kg of cocaine taped to his body, travelling on a flight from Sao Paolo to Durban. The trial will be heard from July 28 to July 29 at Verulam Court.

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