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Sun May 24 19:21:40 SAST 2015

State must stop dithering and deal with this scourge

The Times Editorial | 21 February, 2013 00:37

The Times Editorial: Billions of rands are being spent by governments across the world to fight the use of cocaine and other dangerous substances. Other countries have even taken steps to impose the death penalty on anyone found guilty of being in possession of or dealing in illicit drugs.

South Africa does not go to these extremes but it has classified drugs such as heroin and dagga as illegal.

But one drug that continues to cause serious problems in our communities, especially in black townships, is not classified, making it difficult for police and courts to act against its users and dealers.

Nyaope - a powder-like mixture of cheap heroin, anti-retroviral drugs and other chemical substances - is destroying lives while the state dithers.

Though there is ample evidence of how this drug continues to tear families apart, police are unable to arrest and prosecute those involved in its trade.

We fully support the call by the Gauteng provincial government for the justice system to classify this deadly concoction which continues to destroy lives.

Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, Gauteng's social development MEC, yesterday added her voice, saying delays in classifying nyaope as an illegal drug were undermining efforts to fight the war against crime.

She said addicts often become involved in crime and prostitution to finance the habit.

"It also heightens sexual desires, which is thought to be behind the rise in rape cases in the townships."

According to last year's statistics, Gauteng alone recorded about 25949 drug-related crimes. The number might be higher if nyaope were recorded at police station level.

Though efforts are being made by the government to deal with this drug, communities should seek means to deal with this scourge. The fight against drugs should concern all of us.


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