Heroin addiction in the Durban area
Over recent years the Durban Central area has been burdened by excessive drug and alcohol use.
The continued widespread of drug and alcohol use can be attributed to the fast nature that comes with living in a big city and peer pressure.
Study by the ENACT project, based on field work in South African communities, including interviews with heroin users, drug dealers, health workers and police, found that heroin heroin has become a key commodity underpinning the criminal economy in South Africa.
23-year-old, Sanele Mkhize, is a self-admitted drug addict who has been dealing with heroin addiction for over two years.
“I came to Durban back in 2015 to do my first year in hospitality at the Berea Technical College, within a few months of living in the big city I became involved in clubbing which ultimately led me to start doing heroin. Being a student made it difficult for me to buy the drug because I did not have money. I started stealing from my friends, spending rent money on drugs and eventually got kicked out from the place I was staying. Ever since then I have been living in the streets, doing what I need to, to survive,” said Mkhize.
Former heroin addict, Helen Silver says she almost lost everything because of her addiction.
“I was heavily addicted to heroin and started shoplifting to support my addiction. I had no income at the time because I lost my job, my family stopped giving me financial support and my life was all about the drug. Luckily I checked myself into rehab before something really bad happened,” said Silver.
Police Officer, Senzo Ngcobo, said most people who can no longer afford to support their addiction, often turn to crime in order to make money.
“Almost every addict will turn to petty crime when they can no longer afford to get money to buy drugs. Common criminal activity they get up to is usually petty crime, such as shoplifting, pickpocketing and mugging. In serious cases it can turn to even murder,” said Ngcobo.
Counselor and Social worker, Nomusa Hadebe, said drug addiction is common in the Durban Central because of their easy accessibility.
“Drug in big city are easily accessible and they quite cheaper compared to smaller cities or rural areas. That why you find people doing drugs in each and every corner in Durban,” said Hadebe.
Hadebe said people should seek help should they think they have a drug problem and there are many free public facilities that offer free support to drug and alcohol addicts.