Mthethwa: Youth targeted by drug dealers

2013-06-16 21:17
Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Beeld)

Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Young people are the most targeted by drug dealers, with more of them being sucked in by the illicit industry, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Sunday.

"South African youth are drug dealers' biggest target audience, with more getting involved with drugs... whether it is experimenting, dealing, addiction or being mules or decoys. They are getting sucked into the drug industry," Mthethwa said in a speech delivered at the Future Leaders Annual Youth Conference in Durban on Sunday.

He said a study conducted in 2009 indicated that the use of drugs among teenagers had increased over the years by more than 600%.

The average starting age of drug abuse in South Africa was 12 and younger, and drug dealers were targeting schools, said Mthethwa.

"A 2007 report indicated that Gauteng's youngest drug dealer was an 8-year old boy from Douglasdale." Mthethwa said South Africa was both a transit and an end-user country and that over the last year alone, 41 drug laboratories were closed down by the law enforcement agencies.

Authorities were also concerned about the links between growing gangsterism and the illicit trade in drugs.

"Our response needs to focus on production, consumption and cross border trafficking."

The drug trade was a $300bn global industry, Mthethwa said. "In South Africa, drug abuse was costing the country R20bn a year, it could pose a bigger threat to the country's future than the HIV/AIDS pandemic."

Read more on:    nathi mthethwa  |  durban  |  youth  |  narcotics

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