The Northern Cape Department of Social Development says children as young as eight are becoming drug addicts. The department says the province has seen an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as tik.
Parents say the drug has damaged the lives of their children.
Keamogetse Gaboutlwelwe says her now 23-year-old son started abusing drugs at the age of 16.
“You don’t feel safe around a person who smokes crystal meth. He doesn’t sleep at night. When we are sleeping, he walks around the house and talks alone about how he will kill us and bury us in the yard.”
Violence and agression
The mother of six says she has had to open assault and theft cases against her son more than once.
“He is aggressive. He beats us, especially when he is under the influence of drugs. He beats me and his siblings.”
For her and her children’s safety, Gaboutlwelwe says she moved her addict son to their vacant family home.
However, he has broken some of the windows and filled the house with garbage leaving a heavy stench.
Gaboutlwelwe is living with hope that her son will change.
“I love him. I want help for him. I want him to stop what he is doing and make me proud like he promised. It’s not too late for him to change his life.”
A problem for all of us
Clinical Psychologist Pholly Zizi believes that education could help in the fight against drug.
“Sometimes people use substances and aren’t aware of the dangers of it and the full effects of it and the long-term effects of the substance. The important thing is to educate people on the different dangers of the substances and to understand what they are actually taking”
The Northern Cape Department of Social Development says the fight against drugs cannot be left to government alone.
Department Spokesperson, Gamiem Abrahams, says, “It is shocking that we have recently found cases of children as young as eight years old being trapped in this vicious cycle of drug abuse. It is not only illegal substances but also prescribed medication and that is why we need partnerships with civil society because it is in communities where drug dealers operate freely. Problems emanating from substance abuse not only affect the family but the community as well.”
The department is also calling on the South African Police Service to work with them by arresting suspected drug lords and peddlers.
Meanwhile, Gaboutlwelwe is asking parents to stand together and fight for a drug free future for their children.