Youth taught dangers of substance abuse

Recovering drug addict Charlene Magmoed and Karismatic Dance Crew leader Keenan van Heerden. Strandfontein Primary School teacher Shabbeer Wyngaard and Strandfontein Police constable Ashley Luyt. In front are Strandfontein High School teacher Dilyncia Eckhardt, YMCA Cape Flats co-odinator Alvina Noch, Department of Social Development social worker Jason Williams, and Dennegeur Primary School teacher Teano Patience.

Strandfontein youth passed samples of drugs around to see and smell and then were taught about the dangers of substance abuse.

Sergeant Alain Petersen, from the South African Police Services’ K9 (dog) Unit, who has the necessary papers to have these drugs in his possession, showed it to the children at a substance awareness programme at Strandfontein High School hall on Wednesday June 12.

Among the samples were tik, heroin, dagga, flakka, ecstasy and CAT packaged in plastic bags, stuffed in tubes and stored in a briefcase.

Speaking to them frankly, he explained that the ingredients of tik often included bleach and oven cleaner, which, when ingested, dried the mouth and caused teeth to rot.

And, he said: “You can’t repair it.” Sergeant Petersen said many youth start off by smoking cigarettes and mingling with the wrong friends.

“You experiment with drugs, you get addicted, start selling it for the dealer. You get arrested, end up in the police cells. Where is the merchant now? You go to court and end up in Pollsmoor Prison,” he said.

Recovering drug addict Charlene Magmoed spoke to the youth about her struggle with drugs and to get her life back. “It is not easy but I have to try,” she said.

YMCA Cape Flats youth facilitator Rivonne Valentine, from Tafelsig, said youth should encourage, empower and support each other to do good.

“This is what being an influencer is all about. Take someone by the hand, no matter who they are.

“I didn’t just think in my mother’s womb. I’m gonna be a tikkop,” he said.

Mr Valentine facilitates “Powerspace” – a youth empowerment space, where they can develop skills and learn more about themselves.

Social worker Jason Williams, who coordinated the programme, said it was important for youth to be informed about the dangers of substance abuse but they also need to be given alternatives and need to know that help is at hand.

For more information call the Department of Social Development on 021 001 2674.