Residents around Upington in the Northern Cape are battling to deal with the heavy usage of drugs, particularly crystal meth, known as tik.

Some farmers in the area have also now established a non-profit organisation that helps farmworkers facing this problem.

Former tik addict says, “In that period of time, I was not the person that I am right now. For a couple of days, I was not eating, sleeping or drinking anything. I was that kind of father who my kids didn’t love. I even abused my wife. I was taking money (from) her for the substance abuse, and taking money that was meant for food to fulfill my habit.”

The father of four, who wants to remain anonymous, used tik for 16-years. He . He moved from Cape Town to Upington – to escape his habit.

He ultimately found himself a mentor in Upington, and is now clean for two years. As a family man now, he says his wife and children look up to him – a reason for him to fight his habit.

Substance abuse is a huge concern for the Louisvalle-community in Upington and surrounding farms.

Farmer Gert Cloete took it upon himself to take in a family who faced the substance. He and other farmers established the ‘Hands of Action’ organisation to fight the scourge.

Cloete says, “Young people, as young as 15, 13, who are still in school, use tik. There is no future for such a child. Last year, I even went as far as to assist a family, just to get rid of this chain of addiction.”

A Youth leader in Louisvalle, John Tieties says they’ve had enough.

“We, as the community of Louisvalle, we are having a huge challenge with drug and alcohol abuse. The main thing in this community is our leaders know who the people are; who are selling the drugs, but they are not confronting those people.”

Community members say they hope immediate intervention from government will take place to fight this abuse plaguing families.