In Cape Town,South Africa-Young drug users says they became addicts because of family issues and life’s challenges.
An 18-year-old boy from Philippi in Cape Town, who calls himself Mastermind, said his parents left him in Lady Frere, Eastern Cape, last year to come to Cape Town without giving him any support.
“I came to Cape Town to look for ways to stay alive, but it’s hard. When I take drugs I feel better.” . I stop thinking about my problems,” he said.
He was with four girls, whom he called his smoking partners.
“We mostly smoke zol but now we also smoke ARVs. The pills hit me harder than zol,” he said.
They crush the pills into powder and mix it with other substances.
He said they have a secret supplier who gives them the drugs once a month.
The girls, who’re both in matric, said they smoked zol before going to class.
“I understand better when I’m high. I’ve got enough zol to take me through the exams,” said one of the girls.
They said they knew that using drugs was bad but it helps them deal with their problems.
“When I smoke weed I’m happy and forget about everything else,” said Mastermind.
Joshua Chigome, a spokesman for the social development MEC, said they were working on plans to tackle substance abuse.
“We’ve targeted treating young people to address the rising tide of drug usage.”
He said the department has budgeted R66 million while a further R43 million has been allocated to residential drug treatment centres.
“The Department currently funds six NGO-run in-patient treatment facilities,13 community based treatment NGOs which give treatment at 30 sites, 21 NGOs that provide early intervention services from 29 sites and 10 NGOs that render aftercare services across 16 sites.”
School learners from Philippi also take part smoking whenever they are not at school and on their way to school. Photo by Lulekwa Mbadamane