I have met many drug addicts and a few parents of drug addicts in Knysna, my home town in South Africa.
My first neighbour here was a heroin addict. One day, in his car on the way back from Pick ‘n Pay, he surprised me with a detour into White Location to score.
Cocaine was happening at Swing Café where I provided entertainment (i was there for 6 months a month after it first opened).
One recovering addict I know, whose compensated with weed and alcohol, has been open about much to me but wouldn’t give me an anonymous interview about his tik addiction whilst living with a Nigerian gang in Cape Town. He said that it was simply “the worst period of my life” and that it was something he never wanted to speak about as it was his lowest low.
Some addicts are deniers but all, at some stage, regretful. Parents are depressed, their moments motivated by depression that’s divided by frustration, anger and guilt. Many addicts have been to rehab – relapse is common.
The dangerous drugs of choice are cocaine, crack and meth (more commonly known as Tik here). It’s widely assumed, with reason considering cheap prices and the biggest bust in our town’s history, that drugs are being brought through The Heads, our famous sandstone cliffs, and into our bay that has no customs or port control.
Tik is different because it’s easily made and can be done at home. It’s usage, verified by a policeman, is on the increase. Without statistics, I can’t state whether more robberies are owed to this awful Recession or the drug but logic doesn’t have to leap far to associate them together. Additionally, theft of light bulbs, even from cars, has increased, their intended use as tik pipes.
In the previous Tik blog, The Most Dangerous Drug in Knysna, I tried to place Tik addiction within a broader, South African context as there was so little information in Knysna, my home town, despite it being another threat to our community. After 5 visits to KADC (Knysna Alcohol & Drug Centre), I’m no more knowledgeable. They don’t possess literature let alone usage statistics. And they have been unable to get drug-related crime statistics from the Knysna police station (SAPS). I will make my own endeavours towards the police this coming week but in the meanwhile I want you to reflect on the fact that one of the most important problems Knysna is facing is being treated with, depending on who, apathy or incompetency. The Knysna Municipality should not be allowed that option! Admittedly, the main issue when I met Mayor and Deputy Mayor last week, was Knysna Tourism but I did touch on other subjects to which they never said anything indicating action. I will be meeting with Councillor Magda Williams this coming week will highlight the drug issue and the need for preventive action, especially with Tik as it only takes one or two tries before the user is utterly, psychologically addicted. This brings me to The Meth Project’s “Not Even Once” campaign in the USA.
The Montana Meth Project is a preventative campaign that’s now being used in many American states after great claims of success that garnered big governmental funding. They are not without their critics, the main one being, ironically, reverse psychology i.e. if you campaign strongly against something you instead make it cool to do. However, i believe that running an anti-drug campaign is far better than a non-existent one. Additionally, it should never be a stand-alone. It should work in conjunction with rehabilitation, employment projects and crime-busting. Today’s blog merely presents an idea: What if Knysna’s social services got behind a project involving the goodwill of our talented photographers and filmmakers, adopting ideas such as these promoted through radio, print and video? The posters in the headers of this and the previous Tik blog shout. The mp3s and videos will make you emotional – that is the point!
Listen and share, please. Think and discuss!
You should also read Street Life of a Drug Addict.