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KwaMashu a ‘drug hot spot’ during the holidays

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government has identified KwaMashu as one of the hot spot areas for drug abuse by pupils during school holidays. Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza confirmed this during the launch of a drug awareness campaign in the area this week. Speaking at the launch at the KwaMashu Fan Park yesterday, Khoza said: “When we were creating a plan as the executive, we said that we need to have more focus on the townships. When schools close for holidays, children get excited and host parties and experiment with different substances. “They often engage in unprotected sex that leads to unwanted pregnancies and diseases.” In 2016, it was reported that at least three pupils died while 32 were taken to hospital after taking the dangerous drug called “Mercedes” during a “pens down” party in KwaMashu. While some pupils did attend the launch event yesterday, others, in their school uniforms, could be seen consuming alcohol and smoking outside the fan park to “celebrate” the end of the school year. The Mercury observed some of the pupils pouring cough mixture into a cold drink bottle and drinking from it. A resident at the launch, Nosipho Masondo, said there was a need to increase police visibility around the parks and in townships to monitor public drinking and drug abuse. “This is what we see in this area when it’s school holidays. They consume all sorts of drugs. The campaigns won’t do much, the police must assist us in arresting the drug dealers and closing illegal liquor stores.” Asked about the pupils seen consuming alcohol and smoking outside the event yesterday, Social Development KZN spokesperson Mhlabunzima Memela said it was “unfortunate” and proved that the area was facing serious drug and substance abuse problems. Memela said that moving forward, they were going to intensify the drug awareness programme and move it to other districts as well. “We noticed those activities happening outside. Others were drinking at the park while the MEC was launching the awareness programme. Others were buying alcohol to consume at their parties later on,” said Memela. He said this showed that the community together with parents must work with the department to ensure they monitored children’s activities. Anti-Drug Forum director Sam Pillay said it was during the holidays that most people were exposed to alcohol and drug abuse. The Mercury


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