Cape Town - South Africa's Crystal Meth Capital
Not only is Cape Town the city of Table Mountain, Robben Island, and some of the world's finest beaches - she is also South Africa's capital of Crystal Meth, an extremely dangerous and highly addictive chemical drugs that is locally known as Tik.*
It is understood that Tik in Cape Town is sometimes 10 times more prevalent then elsewhere in the country, and that city harbors 94% of all crystal meth addicts in the Western Cape Province.
According to the South African Medical Rsearch Council (MRC), there are more than 120 000 methamphetamine users in Cape Town and for every tik user receiving treatment in Cape Town, there were 100 were not.
Crystal Meth is a chemical substance, highly addictive, it affects several areas of the central nervous system and it very popular because it is cheap to buy and relatively easy to make in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Prolonged Tik use may lead to loss of weight, severe skin problems, risk of seizures, psychotic behavior and uncontrollable rage and violent behaviour.
As the drug is known to heighten your libibo, it poses another serious to one's threat. According to a new study by the MRC the incidence of HIV is increasing among Tik addicts. This is because the drug has been linked to an increase in risky sexual behaviour.
"Cape Town is the epicentre of two significant public health epidemics - methamphetamine abuse and increasing HIV incidence," Charles Parry, director of the MRC's alcohol and drug abuse research unit in a story published by the Cape Times. "There is a greater risk of methamphetamine users contracting and spreading HIV than other drug users."
*In 2007, I wrote a feature on Tik & Gangsterism in Lavender Hill, one of the townships in Cape Town. It was published in The Big Issue, but an online version can be found here.