SOWETAN | Protect our kids from drug dealers
American anti-drug group, Combat, explains well a phenomenon behind selling drugs to children in the US.
Without drug users, drug dealers would go out of business. Because they need there to be a demand for the illegal drugs they produce and traffic, dealers are continually looking to attract more ‘customers’ – to get more people ‘hooked on their junk’.
It is a simple, yet profound characterisation of a problem that permeates across the world, including SA.
This week we told a story about children in Pulamadibogo Primary School in Pretoria who fell ill and began to act strangely and hallucinate after eating what is believed to be cookies laced with dagga.
About 90 primary school kids were attended by healthcare personnel after buying cookies from a known vendor outside the school gates on Wednesday morning.
What followed was pandemonium and panic as parents and ambulances were called in to transport children to healthcare facilities.
This incident is not isolated nor is it coincidental that it happened in primary school.
It is no secret that, as in our communities, drugs in schools are a major crisis faced by our education system.
Disheartened teachers often tell horror stories of having to deal with high school pupils in particular who are violent and display problematic behaviour because they are under the influence of drugs during school time.
In the criminal economy, schools are a major market for drug peddlers.
This is because, as Combat suggests, to be sustainable dealers need a constant flow of “customers” who are vulnerable enough to increasingly depend on the substances being sold.
In this illicit value chain, primary schools become an even greater target to groom potential customers to hook on increasingly addictive substances.
This cannot be allowed.
The two suspected peddlers who sold space cookies to Pulamadibogo pupils must be found and charged.
More broadly, there needs to be much more effort targeting the different syndicates who are after young people at their places of learning.
Our law enforcement, together with communities, the department of social development and schools must be intentional about pulling resources and means to empower our children to be vigilant and to make the right choices for their own wellbeing.
We must protect our children from the unrelenting thugs hellbent on destroying their future.
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