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Quit it before you die

The drugs you are offered today can look the same with the drugs you have used before but you can never be sure of what the it contains.

Stopping drug use can save your life and help to build a healthy society.

Drugs such as dagga, heroin, ecstasy, Mandrax, tik and cocaine are illegal. Drugs can be swallowed (pills), smoked, inhaled or injected.

Roodepoort Police’s acting station commander, Colonel Happy Xaba, issued a statement about drug use and the dangers you can face when using drugs.

“You could experience a very pleasant response to one drug, yet another drug could have a very frightening reaction and it could even kill you. Like any business, the illicit drug industry is profit-driven. Therefore, drug dealers use a variety of substances to cut drugs,” Xaba said.

Some of these substances may be more harmful than the drug itself. The drugs you are offered today can look the same as those you have used before, but you can never be sure of what they contain.

“The only way to be sure that you do not ingest anything harmful is to avoid taking drugs in the first place.”

Xaba also said you can never anticipate the effect that drugs will have on you.

“It is a mistake to think that experience increases your tolerance levels or that nothing will happen to you if you take a drug that you have used before.”

Drug addiction seduces you into wanting more, and different and stronger drugs, against your will and the natural tolerance of your body. No matter how good you may feel when using drugs, your body suffers.

According to Xaba, drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, speed, crack-cocaine, and tik are uppers, which are designed to make you feel great. They make you feel alive, dynamic, and energised.

“Depending on your personal response to the drug, you could, however, also feel anxious, nervous and paranoid. You could even die. Uppers put a terrible strain on the heart. Long-term use destroys your nerves, takes away your appetite and causes sleeplessness. You will end up taking a downer as your body suffers withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off. You will feel depressed and, sometimes, suicidal.”

Xaba also explained that dagga, heroin and Mandrax are downers, and said they make a person feel relaxed or laid back. Long-term use of downers causes lethargy and makes it harder for you to do the things you need to do as a functional member of society.

Schoolchildren and students who use these drugs find it hard to study or complete assignments, and relationships inevitably suffer.

Too much of a powerful downer like heroin, causes the systems of the body to shut down, eventually leading to death.

“There are also hallucinogens, like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline. These drugs cause powerful hallucinations or dreams in which your reality is changed. You cannot predict whether the dream will be enjoyable or a hideous nightmare.”

He advised that people should never take drugs based on someone else’s experience as people respond differently to the same drugs. He also said that, as your body becomes used to the drug, you will need more and more of it to experience the same intense reaction. This increasing tolerance to a drug is actually a growing addiction. Addiction comes with a big price tag.

“The more drugs you want, the more money you need to feed the habit. Drugs are expensive and their effect on you makes it unlikely that you will be able to earn enough money to afford them. Some drug addicts turn to crime and other high-risk behaviour, others turn to prostitution and live tragic and tainted lives, and almost inevitably die young.”

If you feel that things are spiralling out of control and you are overwhelmed by problems, seek real help from someone who cares. You may already have used drugs and you may be scared of becoming addicted.

People who try to sell you drugs are not interested in your well-being.

“No matter how much trouble you think you will be in if you ask for help, you will be in worse trouble if you do not,” said Xaba.

The South African National Council on Alcoholism (Sanca) is an organisation that has caring professionals who deal with drug abuse daily. They can be reached through the Sanca 24-Hour Helpline on 086 147 2622.

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