Ecstasy use rising among teenage Africans
Crystal ecstasy use in Africa has risen by more than 50% according to new research that has found the drug to be the second most popular among African teenagers after Marijuana and ranks at the top among partygoers.Students are being caught using and dealing drugs in alarming numbers and researchers have warned that drug use among young Africans is out of control, saying thousands including primary school aged children are now struggling with addiction with both government and private schools being involved.Scores of school students have been suspended, or expelled, as a result of drug investigations.In some cases in South Africa, sophisticated rackets have been uncovered and some children have landed in rehabilitations after taking drugs on school compound.One of the researchers told your blogger there was a growing culture of the acceptance of drug use. Teenagers in Africa know the harm of drugs is significant and authorities need to constantly need to look at how they can do better. In Kenya, kids aged 9 – 13 have been caught red handed with ice pipes on them.In Egypt, children have been found experimenting with dangerous new synthetic drugs.Across Africa, researchers say drugs such as cannabis are being laced with dangerous chemicals, including fentanyl with South African being the worst affected.Teenagers are mainly taking ecstasy, LSD and marijuana with most of them being from middle class families. The survey even found thousands of teenagers have posted online videos of themselves taking drugs during school holidays.One of the clips, obtained by researchers, shows six South African teenagers taking drugs shortly after just leaving classroom in a Johannesburg high school. Researchers also found that nearly 75 per cent of users in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Kenya, South Africa and Namibia took ecstasy in a high-purity crystal form.The research found a significant number of users are bingeing on stimulants for up to two whole days and also established that the drug is now more accessible than ever before, with 65 per cent of users describing it as easy to obtain, compared with less than 20 per cent just three years ago.
The crystal form of ecstasy is relatively new in African countries and researchers note that law enforcement agencies in those countries are still gaining information about how users respond to it.Researchers believe that its reasonable to assume that increased purity, together with uncertainty around the amount of the drug being taken, increases risks to the users.For example the majority of ecstasy users in South Africa do not use frequently, however a significant minority are using daily or weekly. In Nigeria, 30 per cent of users say they have excessively used them on stimulants using it for more than two days without sleep on average.At 43 per cent, South Africa had the highest rate of Africans admitting ecstasy was their drug of choice, followed closely by Nigeria at 38 per cent.In Kenya and Egypt, 34 per cent of ecstasy users in urban areas do so weekly or even more frequently, compared with 19 per cent in semi-urban areas and are more likely to take it in larger amounts.The researchers also found use of crystal ecstasy was most common in South Africa, with 72 per cent of ecstasy users saying they had used it this way in the past three months.The researchers revealed that ecstasy in crystal-form is most easily obtained in South Africa than any other country in Africa.Namibia had the lowest rate of ecstasy use in the countries surveyed, although it did have the highest rate of teenagers who selected marijuana as their drug of choice.The number of teenagers who have exceeded on ecstasy in the past twelve months has increased from 21 to 28 per cent, while for cannabis, this number has slightly decreased from 37 per cent to 34 per cent.Most other drugs, including heroin, alcohol, cocaine and LSD have remained consistent with previous research.While reading the research, its clear African schools are a reflection of communities, and unfortunately, the problems in community is affecting schools. As my mother used to tell me, schoolies behavior are carbon copy of the community trends. African countries are no exception. The health and safety of teenage students should be a top priority and schools should work hard to educate students on the dangers of drugs, and support those who become involved with drugs.With ecstasy again readily available, most users don’t know what is in the ecstasy pills they’re taking and can result in death. Research also shows concrete pellets and malaria pills are being sold off as ecstasy in Africa and many others are laced with rat poison and other deadly chemicals according to the research.