‘War on drugs is lost’

Anthony Hall with Breede Valley Municipality mayor Antoinette Steyn. Photo: Facebook

Anthony Hall with Breede Valley Municipality mayor Antoinette Steyn. Photo: Facebook

The founder of the R.A.E.L addiction rehabilitation farm Anthony Hall warns that the war on drugs has been lost. “It has gone past the pandemic stage,” the anti-drug crusader and one-time addict says. For Hall, drug abuse amongst youths is especially worrying.

According to Hall the drugs of choice amongst the youth are steroids, Ritalin, tik and heroin. “Steroids are huge” amongst high school boys. “The boys want to make the first team in rugby; you see them at the beginning of the year, and then at the end, and they’re huge.” Hall believes that the boys’ environment encourages this as the parents want their sons to get rugby scholarships while the principals want a top-notch rugby team.
High school girls use tik or heroin; the choice can be influenced by their boyfriends’ drug of choice.

Drugs on the platteland
During a visit to a rural school in Brandwacht near Worcester, Hall was told that 21 out of 27 of the learners (of whom the youngest was six years old) had used dagga or tik. The use of drugs is countrywide. Of his visit to remote Ottosdal Hall says that he has “never seen such poverty and drug use.” They use nyaope (also known as whoonga) which has a heroin base, and which is sometimes said to contain anti-retroviral drugs. The youngest child whom Hall has treated has been 7-years old.

Drug & Drive
Another frightening tendency is that of drugging and driving, Hall says. “Our youngsters use drugs and drive, they don’t drink and drive… These guys drink themselves dronk and take one hit of tik and then they’re stone sober.”

‘Denialism is what is killing our children’
Hall considers substance abuse to have its roots in the family. Parents tell him, “I’ve given up. My hands are tied. The father will often pull away; it becomes the mother’s responsibility. Our success on the farm is when we have the parents’ support. The denialism is what is killing our children. I spoke to a youngster the other day and asked him, “What are your dreams?” “I have no dreams,” he said.’” Hall says that there is no quick fix for treating the addicted. A rehabilitation programme at R.A.E.L., which is located on a smallholding outside Worcester, lasts six months, and longer.




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