Friday, February 20, 2009

SA the dagga capital of the world

And hundreds of thousands abuse cocaine and tik, says a UN report

South Africans are the biggest dagga smokers in the world, with at least 2.5-million citizens using the drug.

The country also has the most abusers of amphetamine-type stimulants, the most common being tik, with double the percentage of addicts than other countries.

These shocking revelations were made yesterday at the release of the annual report of the international narcotics control board of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime.

And a presentation by the department of social development at the UN launch showed that:

  • 237 000 South Africans are totally dependent on drugs and will feed their addiction at all costs;
  • 1.97-million South Africans are alcoholics; and
  • alcohol abuse and drug addiction cost the economy R20-billion a year in accidents, injuries, assaults and medical treatment.
These figures, said the deputy chairman of the Central Drug Authority, David Bayever, were based on studies by the Medical Research Council, the SA Red Cross and the police.

“Drug use in South Africa is extremely serious and is twice the world norm,” said Bayever.

He said that 8 percent of the population aged between 12 and 64 was addicted to dagga, as opposed to a 4 percent average in other countries.

Bayever said the dagga-abuse figures were “only the tip of the iceberg”, given that the problem was seriously under-reported.

In addition to the 1.97-million alcoholics in South Africa, about 3.2-million people are “risky drinkers” who consume large amounts of alcohol at weekends.

The cost of heavy drinking included 7,000 lives taken by drunken drivers every year.

The department of social development said that, though 59 percent of people aged between 12 and 64 do not drink, at least 37 percent are “binge drinkers”.

Drug rehabilitation centres struggle to cope with the scourge of abuse. They can accommodate only 17,500 patients a year.

Dr Jonathan Lucas, the southern Africa representative of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, said South Africa did not have the capacity to fight drug trafficking. He said that in addition to West African, mainly Nigerian, drug peddlers, there had been an influx of Asian drugs cartels.

Bayever said drug abuse was prevalent among children under 16. Half of this group had experimented with drugs.

The government report said that 20 percent of dagga smokers were boys under 16 and 7 percent were girls. However, 7 percent of both boys and girls abused heroin, mandrax, cocaine, and tik.

Children who smoked dagga were almost four times more likely to be stabbed at school than those who did not. Those who drank alcohol were twice as likely to be stabbed.

About 40 percent of child dagga smokers reported having had sex, compared with 5 percent of non-smokers. Thirty percent of child drinkers had sex, compared with 3 percent of those who did not drink.

Fact Box
  • Between 42 and 98 percent of drug patients in the Western Cape are hooked on tik
  • South Africa, Mauritius and Zambia have highest increase of heroin abuse in Africa
  • Western Cape has more alcoholics and tik addicts than any other province
  • Dagga is the most widely used drug in the world; 42 million addicts are in Africa (which explains a lot - Ed.)

18 Opinion(s):

FishEagle said...

I have flown over the extensive dagga plantations in the Wild Coast region. Fertile grounds for profit. The bastards span cables across the steep mountainous valleys over the plantations to ensnare the police helicopter because they sometimes spray the plantations. A dangerous job!

Anonymous said...

Damn coloureds!


Hey how about the Newsweek cover story on South African crime that is driving everyone batty!

Finally someone notices. Perfect timing if you ask me just when the 2010 tickets are being sold as of yesterday.

Jeff said...

Growing and smoking dagga is not a crime. It is far less dangerous than alcohol, and many people believe it should be de-criminalised. A recent survey in the US showed that 41% of their population believe it should be de-crimimalised. (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/2/20/134319/463/902/699813)

What is criminal is spending millions on indiscriminate spraying of crops with herbicides, and destroying the poorest-of-the-poor's livelihood AND their food crops. Roundup has also been linked to hormonal imbalances in children. I.e. boys growing breasts, etc.

Anonymous said...

but 59% don't!

FishEagle said...

Jeff, have you seen where most of the dagga plantations are grown in the Wild Coast? No chance in hell of spraying food crops on those steep mountainous slopes.

If they didn't grow the dagga there would be no need to spray herbicides.

Ever heard of an honest day's work?

Doberman said...

@ Jeff.

It is not the use of the drug necessarily that is the issue but the method of procurement. Many people turn to crime to feed their habits and/or go on to stronger substance abuse.

It's a question of prevention rather than living with the consequences caused by people that abuse the drug.

Even The Netherlands which had a fully open policy on drug use is beginning to regret it and curtailing the wanton use of drugs in its society.

Like all things, it's about moderation and since the human creature is not one for self-control, laws must exist that control abuse be it alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, medicine and yes, dagga.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know how "benign" dagga is, ask Prof Harry Seftel about it, and what dagga did to his own son.

Joe King said...

Anon 05:58

I remeber Harry's son well, the naked man playing violin in early morning traffic on Rivonia road.(circa 1992) Apparantley he was "gerook" but the lad was a bit psycho to start off with, and lived in a tree on his parents property. Weird shit!

And as I agree - it starts with dagga - then it goes onto coke, xtc, lsd, heroin, crack - unfortunatley some don't come back!

Jeff said...

@Fisheagle

Yes, I have lived on the Wild Coast most of my life and seen many places where they mostly grow small quantities of ganja in the vegetable/maize fields or in the indigenous forests. One such place was sprayed with herbicide last April. There are unpopulated mountainous areas inland in the greater Transkei where it could be possible to grow "extensive dagga plantations" - but as for the Wild Coast itself; No Chance. Mostly because there is a pervasive fear of "impimpis".

"If they didn't grow the dagga there would be no need to spray herbicide." That part of your argument is a logical fallacy known as affirming the consequent.

READ THIS PLEASE: http://wiseperception.com/node/188 AND THE COMMENTS.

The fact is that a lot of the perceived negative effects of cannabis use are related to its illegal status. What's to be paranoid about apart from the fear of getting caught? Fear and stress are more psychologically damaging than virtually any substance.

Also, the Netherlands is not reconsidering their laissez-faire approach to drug prosecutions, and in fact Germany and other countries are in the process of careful experimentation with the same approach. The fact is that in an understanding culture it has been proven that far fewer people who use cannabis regularly go on to harder drugs.

The old "gateway drug" cannard is really tired, and in any event applies far more to cigarette and alcohol abuse leading to hard(er) drugs.

Carry on persecuting people for using a natural herb (and useful medicine) which God created, by all means. I'll carry on believing that I have no right to interfere with another person's free will.

Joe King said...

Jeff

As the saying goes, Man made booze, god made dagga, who do you trust? But having been involved in rehab for youngsters, after my vast practical experience with substances (abuse) , dagga does lead to other shit - i speak of experience, not a thumb suck. Who would you rather fly with - a pilot who learnt on a simulator, or a pilot who learnt through experience?

FishEagle said...

As it happens we were flying the entire old Transkei region to do a survey. I have seen MASSIVE quantities of dagga that was grown on very steep mountain slopes not very far from Port St Johns, higher up in the Umzimvubu valley. It is not possible to grow anything else on such steep slopes and these plantations are not very accessible. The only way to find them is to walk or to fly.

I can believe that some of the vegetable and maize fields might get sprayed when the smaller patches of dagga get sprayed. The guys that are doing the spraying are enforcing the law and it is done at the risk of sacrificing their own lives. I doubt whether they are going to worry about the safety of the livelihoods of the culprits if they are guilty of growing the dagga on their property. Aerial spraying is not an exact science and sometimes you get wind drift.

“If they didn't grow the dagga there would be no need to spray herbicide.”
I am not in favor of using herbicides, however, one needs to weigh the costs and benefits of the target weeds’ damage. Roundup is used on all the major water bodies to control aquatic weeds in SA, including the Vaal River. I believe the environmental damage is negligible compared to the damage caused by dagga.

Jeff said...

"Two things that cannot be argued: facts and a closed mind."

How do you know the damage (of enforcement and crop spraying) is negligible compared to the damage of dagga use?

Most people have strong tendencies to evade reality, and that is their nature. It has got sweet fuck all to do with the use of dagga, or some sort of evil graduation (that seems, in the minds of some, to exist) from there to stronger drugs.

I know dozens of respectable people who smoke ganja on a regular basis and maintain productive and happy lives. Don't beat up their wives, move onto evil hard drugs, or ruin their (or other) lives. I can't say the same for the people I know who abuse alcohol.

My direct experience (and lots of research) contradicts the notion that smoking "dagga" leads to hard(er) drugs. In any event there is enough evidence that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol (and is in fact good for a range of diseases from glaucoma to migraines to nausea relief in chemotherapy) and that in open cultures where it is used legally there is less tendency towards abuse or graduation to harder drugs.

Either way, that old "gateway" chestnut should really be retired. Really. Even if it were true (which it's not) do you really think it makes a positive difference to classify the plant as illegal?

I'm certain it has a negative impact, actually. Its illegal status makes angst ridden and rebellious adolescents - when witnessing the inhumanity of man toward man, for example, or the bigotry and illogical posturing of adults who should know better and be more tolerant, but think they /know all/ the answers - far more likely to try it.

Then there's the expense of prosecuting against the use of it, and the thousands of people locked up at tax-payer expense; whereas it could easily be legalized, taxed and used for it's medicinal and material properties.

If your son/daughter/nephew/niece/friend hadn't abused ganja specifically, then they would have found something equally (or more) destructive.

FishEagle said...

"How do you know the damage ..is negligible compared to the damage of dagga use?"

That is a matter of opinion really. I know the damage that herbicides cause to the environment. I can't say that I know how much damage dagga causes because I have no personal experience and it is not something that is of particular interest to me. I know people that have had bad experiences with family members that smoked dagga. There are obviously some negative effects of dagga, e.g. aggression or leading to more serious drugs.

The question is whether the health benefits outweigh the negative impacts of the drug. Are you qualified to answer such a question? And if you are, shouldn’t you be taking this up with the relevant people?

Joe King said...

Jeff you said it

"Two things that cannot be argued: facts and a closed mind."

Unfortunately, facts are in the eye of the beholder.

I am fully on your side to legalize - and I have yet to see aggresive behaviour caused by the weed on it's own.(Fisheagele) But my friend, combined with "dop" well, hell hath no fury.

But nonetheless,Jeff, Thou dost protest too much.

It is always the fool who shouts, I am not a fool, I am not a fool!

Aparently weed makes you lose your memory and as i was saying um, ah I beg your pardon where was i - oh forget it!

Jeff said...

Whether the health benefits outweigh the negative impacts is a moot point.

What is indisputable is that the negative impacts are far less than legal "drugs" (alcohol, nicotine and prescription meds, when abused).

Perhaps I do protest too much, but I'm old enough to know that I am a fool. True. And I tilt at windmills, sometimes. Regardless of that, though, it is far more foolish to carry on persecuting people for their (sometime) religious beliefs, or what they do to their own bodies. Those helicopters and valuable resources will be much better employed pursuing real criminals.

Anyway, we seem to agree on a couple of things. So I'll leave it at that then.

Thanks for your time and contribution to this thread.

Anonymous said...

legalise dagga so we can grow it out in the open and not deep in the bush where animals and plants should be left alone.we will always grow it wether you like it or not ,morals aside.nobody likes to destroy the environment and money from ganja should be used to rehabilitate the native environment as well as the environment in which poor natives live.sugar cane ,bluegum ,wattle ,mining..not good for environment.sugar is bad for your teeth(you know) and diabetes was never a problem back in the day when natives were growing dagga and sorghum.i am angry...very angry because my friends can get lekker dronk and rowdy anytime but i must hide in the bushes for my fix.lets all respect each other.ill grow my weed in my yard and not bother anyone and make sure i dont use the road while intoxicated...and ill even make sure that your sensitive nicotine burned nostrils never have to catch a perfumed wiff of zol smoke.will you still wanna call the cops?go jerk off then punk with nothing better to do..go work for the big cooperation and the govornment and think that you make the world a better place by snooping on your neighbour.and if i sit in a tree smoking a spliff and playing violin in my birthday suit....so what?your world gonna end anytime soon?many barefooted hippies are growing pot in areas we shudnt because we love pot and see its obvious economic potential ,we also simply love being out in the wilderness away from the confines of "civilised" city life.i challenge you ganja haters to give us a chance to use some of the profits to legally help both the environment and the poor.make no mistake ,it is huge business.

Anonymous said...

legalise dagga so we can grow it out in the open and not deep in the bush where animals and plants should be left alone.we will always grow it wether you like it or not ,morals aside.nobody likes to destroy the environment and money from ganja should be used to rehabilitate the native environment as well as the environment in which poor natives live.sugar cane ,bluegum ,wattle ,mining..not good for environment.sugar is bad for your teeth(you know) and diabetes was never a problem back in the day when natives were growing dagga and sorghum.i am angry...very angry because my friends can get lekker dronk and rowdy anytime but i must hide in the bushes for my fix.lets all respect each other.ill grow my weed in my yard and not bother anyone and make sure i dont use the road while intoxicated...and ill even make sure that your sensitive nicotine burned nostrils never have to catch a perfumed wiff of zol smoke.will you still wanna call the cops?go jerk off then punk with nothing better to do..go work for the big cooperation and the govornment and think that you make the world a better place by snooping on your neighbour.and if i sit in a tree smoking a spliff and playing violin in my birthday suit....so what?your world gonna end anytime soon?many barefooted hippies are growing pot in areas we shudnt because we love pot and see its obvious economic potential ,we also simply love being out in the wilderness away from the confines of "civilised" city life.i challenge you ganja haters to give us a chance to use some of the profits to legally help both the environment and the poor.make no mistake ,it is huge business.

HardCore said...

D E N I A L.