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The South African Anti Drug Team




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Street names: tik, tik-tik, crystal, meth, crystal meth, crank, uppers, speed
Tik is also a knocked-together drug and is sold in the form of powders, pills and capsules that are sniffed, smoked or injected. It can be manufactured at home from medicines that are available over the counter.  


The heaven:
Like cocaine and crack, tik leads to increased alertness, energy and self-confidence, a heightened sense of sexuality and euphoria.  


The hell:
Aggression, violence, psychotic behaviour, memory loss and heart and brain damage. Long-term users face insomnia, psychotic episodes, paranoia, hallucinations and collapse.  


Effects on the body:
Trembling hands, increased heart rate and sweating. An overdose can result in stroke and heart failure. Long-term use leads to an increased risk of hepatitis C and HIV as the drug is injected and often prompts risky sexual behaviour.  


Effects on the brain:
Tik acts as a stimulant, similar to cocaine - but stays in the system for longer. The exhaustion of the brain's dopamine supply is extremely worrying. A tik addict loses up to half his dopamine supply every two years, compared with the 5-10% every 10 years for the average person. Dopamine helps to regulate coordinated movement and as soon as its levels drop by 15%, the victim develops Parkinson's disease, characterised by head and hand tremors.  


In the Western Cape there are already young tik users who have Parkinson's. Psychiatrists are also worried about the increase in cases of schizophrenia and psychosis among tik users. It seems as if tik damages the human brain to such an extent that users start acting like extremely aggressive psychopaths. This is reflected by the Narcotics Bureau's observation that murders and rapes committed by tik abusers are becoming a lot more senseless and aggressive. Babies born to moms who used tik during pregnancy have a greater risk of developing Parkinson's disease in their childhood years. Much worse: the birth of babies with intestines outside their tiny bodies is a regular occurrence at some Cape Peninsula hospitals.  


Downers (depressants)
These suppress or delay certain brain functions. Depending on which part of the brain is being suppressed, they are divided into sub-groups: either narcotic or tranquillising substances such as heroin or substances that make you sleepy such as mandrax.  


 NB:  Common outward signs of a drug user:

 1.   They do not have strong willpower.

 2.   They do not have a stable character.

 3.   They tend to live in a tunnel - view life.

 4.   They lie constantly to protect their pride.

 5.   They would have the habit to bite their nails.

 6.   They develop chest problems, asthma or lung problems.