Losing a child is unimaginable. Garnering the strength to march two hours after your 14-year-old daughter committed suicide because of drug addiction is even harder. Still, this is what a mother and resident of South Africa’s Eldorado Park community did on June 2, stressing the tarnishing drug war, IRIN News reports.
ABC News reported that in the last decade, there has been a 600 percent increase in drug use across the country. Now that people are using AIDS medications and rat poison to make narcotics, the government believes the issue is bigger than the pressing AIDS/HIV pandemic.
However, in Eldorado Park, cheap methamphetamine called ‘tik’ is the drug plaguing families and children as young as eight in the low-income, “coloured” community. High unemployment rates have driven many to tik, which is smoked out of a pipe — in extreme cases, pipes made from street light bulbs. Clubs have been converted to drug houses called lolly lounges where young girls are hooked on tik and used for sex.
A group of mothers in Eldorado Park and have resorted to writing a mass amount of letters to alert president Zuma and Non-government organizations (NGO) of the community’s downfall. They’ve even come up with plausible and effective solutions:
“Help us lock up these murderers, drug dealers for good. Set up a special court for all drug-related crime. Close down all the Lolly Lounges [named after the lollipop shape of the home-made pipe used to smoke methamphetamine],” one letter outlined by IRIN News stated.
“Dismiss all corrupt cops that [are] on a payroll. Call in the K9 unit. We need a rehab centre that will assist with detoxing our kids and give them a second chance at life. We need recreation centres to keep our kids busy… Let us have compulsory drug testing at our schools.”
Following the letters president Zuma made a visit to the community, which IRIN News reported calmed the area’s drug situation. Since then, several NGOs and community members have stepped up to help report crimes and aid the police in shutting down more than 20 lolly lounges. More than 130 closed drug cases have been reopened to source the root of the widespread issue.
“Even though everybody condemns drug peddling, deep down we understand why they do it. There needs to be a dialogue, they need to ask for, and be given, forgiveness,” Eldoz FM station manager Lorreal Ferris told IRIN News.