News / South Africa / Crime

Mfundo Mkhize
3 minute read
21 Nov 2019
12:37 pm

Pietermaritzburg tuckshop nabbed with over-the-counter medication worth R35k

Mfundo Mkhize

Residents lauded the arrest of the tuckshop owner and said drug abuse among children in the area had reached crisis proportions.

Cough syrup is used as a concoction for a drug dubbed “incika”. File image: iStock

A joint operation between Mountain Rise SAPS and the Crime Intelligence Unit resulted in the arrest of the owner of Arab’s Tuckshop.

Police seized a consigned of restricted medicines worth R35,000, which included Alprazolam tablets, Adco-Salterrpyn cough syrup, and Benylin cough mixture with codeine. The tuckshop is located near two primary schools, reports Public Eye.

The tuckshop that was busted by cops. Image: Public Eye

Residents of the area welcomed the arrest of the 52-year-old tuckshop owner, saying drug abuse among children in the area had reached crisis proportions.

One of the residents said: “The drug-dealing in this area is really concerning. Our kids are always being targeted but these people do not care. Last month, my child was admitted to hospital as a result of a seizure triggered by drug usage.”

The man is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where he faces charges relating to the Medicine and Related Substance Control Act, Contravention of Section 22a- Act 101 of 196.

Mountain Rise spokesperson Captain Joshua Maistry confirmed the arrests, saying the operation followed a period of surveillance.

“We would like the children to be safeguarded against these ills. Our youths of today are very curious and always like to experiment with anything new that is sold, including undesirable and illegal substances,” said Maistry.

Mountain Rise SAPS commanded Brigadier Boxer Pillay commended police officers for the breakthrough.

“This recovery is as a result of positive information received from the public. Too many of our youths are being affected by these criminal-minded people who are exploiting young children to do the wrong things. We are determined to root out the criminals from our community and appeal to our citizens to expose such people,” said Brigadier Pillay.

Chairperson of the Newholmes Primary School Governing Body Sunil Ramsaran said children throughout the city were at risk from unscrupulous drug peddlers.

“Somewhere along the line, some of our kids may cross paths with those who are already experimenting with this and fall into the trap. It is up to us to teach parents and learners to be alert and resilient,” said Ramsaran.

Reputable pharmacies in the area have also added their concern, saying people who abuse medication not only risked becoming addicts but also risked their lives.

Pharmacist and proprietor of Sparkport Pharmacy in Raisethorpe, Nishi Naicker, said abuse of medication posed the risk of not only destroying lives but also had disastrous health consequences.

“Addicts eventually lose control of their lives and everything falls apart. We in the medical profession have to be responsible. We have taken the decision to restrict access to certain medications and will not sell certain medications over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. Abuse can lead to seizures, kidney failure, liver failure and even death,” said Naicker.

Local Choice pharmacist Reggie Moodley has also stopped supplying certain medications over the counter and will only do so when patients present a valid doctor’s script.

“Cough mixture addiction is a serious problem and we have had to take swift, strict action to control the sale of certain of these medications. Addicts will often buy cough mixtures and, minutes after walking out, would be seen gulping down the medications. We have erected notices committing ourselves to good ethical conduct and accordingly have implemented strict controls,” said Moodley, adding that “whoever is promoting the misuse must for a second think what would they do if any of their family members became victims”.

In 2017, Capital Newspapers carried an exposé on cough syrup, which is one of the most abused medications. The article raised the alarm on the rampant sale of this syrup by several outlets that raked in massive profits by flaunting the law and peddling the mixture to youth.

The article had also reported that the syrup would be sold for an amount of R17 to R25 depending on the outlets. It is also used as a concoction for a drug dubbed “incika”.

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