Easy ac­cess to drugs is gnaw­ing at the fu­tures of town­ship youth, writes Bhekikhaya Mabaso

The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE -

IN SOWETO, there’s been a marked spike in the use of drugs by the youth over the last few years – mostly cat, rock co­caine and nyaope.

Teenagers have been drop­ping out of school be­cause of the side-ef­fects of these drugs, which have also led to a sig­nif­i­cant rash of men­tal health prob­lems in­clud­ing schizophre­nia and hal­lu­ci­na­tions.

Pre-1994, drugs like cat and rock co­caine were seen only as “white peo­ple’s” drugs and were not pop­u­lar in black town­ships.

The more pop­u­lar drugs dur­ing that time were weed and man­drax, which didn’t have such pro­found side-ef­fects.

Things have es­ca­lated due to the in­tro­duc­tion of these new drugs, lead­ing to a spike in crime, as some ad­dicts will steal and even mur­der for these drugs.

The lack of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres and em­pa­thy from the com­mu­nity within Soweto has al­lowed drug abuse to get out of con­trol.

In these pic­tures, I was try­ing to doc­u­ment how easy it is to ac­cess these drugs, as well as the dire cost to the Soweto com­mu­nity.

Some of the pho­to­graphs also de­pict how des­per­ate drug seek­ers will steal metal and scrap to pawn at scrap deal­ers to pay for their fix.

My aim was to cre­ate an aware­ness of how se­ri­ous this sit­u­a­tion is and the knock-on ef­fect it has on the future of our youth in the black town­ship com­mu­ni­ties.

A drug user breaks a bulbs as he pre­pares a smok­ing pipe.

PROFIT MO­TIVE: A dealer pack­ag­ing crys­tal meth into small bags to sell on the street.

JOB DONE: A drug user pre­pares a smok­ing pipe af­ter a long day col­lect­ing scrap metal.

ROAD TO RUIN: Drug abuse among the youth is a con­cern.

HARD CASH: Drug users re­cy­cle scrap metal to get money for drugs.

EVIL TRADE: Deal­ers make a killing from sell­ing drugs.

WHITE DEATH: A dealer pack­ag­ing cat into small bags to sell on the street.

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