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How to ruin your life – Methamphetamine ‘Tik’

The topic of substance abuse, the different types of substance abuse drugs and the effects they have on their user plays a vital role in educating and informing both the younger generation and older generation on the dangers and risks of drug abuse.

At Step Away Treatment Centre we aim to help equip individuals in making educated decisions about alcohol and drug abuse by sharing facts about substance abuse.

Relatively new to drug and substance abuse scene is Methamphetamine or ‘TIK’ as it is commonly known in South Africa. One of the scariest things about 'Tik' is how easily accessible it is, being one of the most common and cheapest of the street drugs.

Producers can cook up a batch of the drug by simply using a combination of everyday household products such as: cold medicine, drain, pool and brake cleaner, paint thinners, cat litter and fertilizer amongst other chemicals.

The manufacture of the drug is easy and extremely inexpensive and therefore the substance users can purchase it for next to nothing.

For as little as R20, a gram of 'Tik' (a 'pakkie') can be bought in and around the majority of suburban areas and ‘locations’ countrywide, which allows the everyday drug user about 8 hours’ worth of smoking glass pipes, or “lollies”.

The drug can also be injected, swallowed or induced nasally for an instant release of high levels of dopamine in the brain and causes a euphoric sensation or “high” which can last anywhere up to 45 minutes. This is a relatively short high, and typically users will repeatedly use the drug to maintain the high.

These 'pakkies' are usually shared in amongst a few users and induces a state of increased wakefulness and physical activity, increased respiration and a decreased appetite.

Most of the drug users live in poverty stricken conditions and often are unemployed, hence making the ability to support this physical dependency difficult without reverting to a life of crime.

By far the majority of users are young, under the age of 20, 'so-called coloured' and male. The 'Tik' trade is a major contributory factor in gang related  violence on the Cape Flats.

However, in more recent times it has been noted that this substance is now also being used a lot more by the middle and upper working class for its characteristic effect – staying awake and being able to maintain both their working and personal lives supposedly.

Long term usage leads to the following: addiction, psychosis, ( including paranoia hallucinations and repetitive motor activity), changes in brain structure and function, memory loss, aggressive or violent behaviour, mood disturbances, severe dental problems and weight loss

Because of its addictive nature and pervasive side-effects Tik is extremely damaging to normal social functioning. Users will withdraw from friends and family.

It is however possible to recover from methamphetamine addiction. If treated soon enough, most of the physical side effects can be arrested and even reversed.

Click here for more information on the Step Away Meth (tik) addiction treatment in South Africa

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