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Which Drugs Are Legal in South Africa

The penalty for trafficking addictive substances also varies depending on whether the drug is considered a simple addiction or dangerous (Schedule 2 Drugs, Part 1 or Part 2). It is believed that cannabis was introduced to Africa by early Arab or Indian traders. [4] It was already popular in South Africa among the indigenous Khoisan and Bantu peoples before Europeans settled in Cape Town in 1652, and was traditionally used by the Basotho to facilitate childbirth. [6] According to author Hazel Crampton, there are ancient African recipes for teas and foods that use the plant. [7] The use of the plant has been associated with traditional African populations and lower economic status. [4] [8] The South African Minister of Health has removed products containing cannabidiol (a part of the cannabis plant that does not give recreational drug users the “high”) from the drug list. This means that these products can be legally marketed without a prescription for at least 12 months from that date. The National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) found that 15% of students admitted to using over-the-counter medications to get high. The same study found that 11.5% of college students had tried at least one drug such as heroin, mandrax, sugar (a mixture of cocaine and heroin) or tik. The need to reduce both the supply of and demand for illicit drugs should be supported by empirical evidence for a wide range of policies and programmes. But, as in most African societies, significant funding for drug research is limited by many competing priorities facing the South African government (housing, education, healthcare, etc.). This means a significant lack of information about illicit drugs and treatment outcomes. The limited research, which examined trends in drug use after 1994, focused primarily on adolescents and their alcohol use.

The South African government does not have an agency like the US NIDA, which provides sustainable funding to specifically support research projects that investigate illicit drug use. The duplication of some services and the lack of other services (such as funding for innovative research) have meant that scarce resources are poorly managed and others cannot be provided. The absence of a unified strategic response to the drug problem, based on empirical evidence, means that the war on drugs has not been waged effectively or on all fronts. Public concern and pressure to act on illicit drugs has increased. Law enforcement, addiction researchers and service providers agree that the nature and extent of illicit drug trafficking, illicit drug use and related problems appear to be increasing in South Africa, largely due to the political, economic and social changes that have taken place in the country. In light of the previous discussion and its vision to build a drug-free society and contribute to the global problem of drug abuse, this paper suggests that South Africa: If you are a first-time offender charged with possession and you are a professional with a reputation for being a law-abiding member of your community, You can only get a fine. But you will have a criminal record, which can hurt your career prospects. There is a way to avoid this, but it is not an easy solution and requires a commitment on your part to avoid recurrence. We are currently seeing this, for example, in the rapidly evolving legal status of cannabis (including in South African law) and its rapid inclusion in business trade; in painkillers, “opioid crises” and fentanyl overdose deaths in the United States; the illegal trade in the painkiller tramadol in West Africa; and in the clandestine export of Chinese Xanax to the hands of South African schoolchildren. South Africa is running a thriving campaign and public debate on the decriminalisation of cannabis. This is due in part to the widespread perception that illicit drug use is increasing and will continue to do so, supported by growing tolerance of drugs and ineffective law enforcement.

Such perceptions can easily be linked to xenophobic views that the “flow” of illicit drugs into the country connects – or in extreme cases creates – its economic and social problems, thus contributing to currents of moral panic about drug use as a vector of wider fears (UNODCCP, 1999). At the end of the apartheid era, Rocha-Silva (1992) wrote that South African research on the nature and extent of non-alcohol and tobacco drug use was virtually non-existent among the general adult population in South Africa. In South Africa, alcohol and drug abuse was identified by former President Nelson Mandela in his opening speech to Parliament in 1994 as a problem among the social pathologies that needed to be combated. In February 1999, the South African Drug Advisory Board welcomed an unacceptable increase in drug abuse and related problems. This problem was identified in the National Drug Master Plan as fuelling crime, poverty, declining productivity, unemployment, dysfunctional family life, political instability, escalating chronic diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, injuries and premature death (Drug Advisory Council, 1999). After 1994, South Africa experienced an increase in the illicit drug market. The porosity of the country`s borders, particularly with neighbouring countries, relatively high income levels and long-standing and growing income disparities have made South Africa attractive to local and international drug trafficking syndicates. Compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa represents the largest market for illicit drugs. The rapidly changing social and economic climate, combined with the increasing availability and promotion of drugs and the demand for drugs, has contributed to the growing scale of the national drug abuse problem.

The complexity of the problem has been exacerbated by changing patterns of drug abuse, supply and distribution. There is an increase in social and economic factors that make people, especially youth, more vulnerable and likely to use drugs and engage in drug-related risk behaviours. South Africa suffers from the consequences of drug abuse and illicit trafficking: negative health effects; an increase in crime, violence and corruption. In the 1960s and 1970s, substance abuse was widespread in South Africa. Globalization has facilitated the introduction of highly addictive substances such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy into South Africa.

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