Cape Town - A Lavender Hill tik-addict mom says she feels bad to see how the drug affects her daughter when breastfeeding.

Ra’eesah Naicker, 25, was first introduced to tik in 2005 through a friend who asked her to test it.

“An Angolan friend was selling it and then he asked my sister and I to test it. I liked it, but my sister stopped smoking.”

The unemployed mom said she had smoked throughout her pregnancy.

“My daughter is three years old now. When she was eight months, my dad took her in because I didn’t have the finances to care for her.

“But when she was a year and a half, he brought her back because he’s in the navy and had to leave.”

She explained that she had still been breastfeeding her daughter for almost a year, although she’s still using the drug.

“I breastfeed now and then. My daughter is hyperactive and doesn’t listen to me.”

Naicker said before breastfeeding the little girl, she’d been “normal” and quiet.

“I do feel bad about how (tik) would affect her and I’ve tried to take her off the breast milk, but she cries. She knows that I smoke tik and she calls it ‘blommetjie’.”

Ra’eesah said she and her mom Jamiela smoked tik together.

Jamiela confirmed that she’d started using tik as a slimming method a few years ago.

“I was very fat after I had my last child. My son and daughter went to the library one day and came back with a newspaper where I read that tik made you lose weight.”

The mother of four had been on a diet since 2005, but said she hadn’t been losing any weight.

“It took me a week to find out where to buy (tik) and within three months I lost 30 kg’s. I smoke every day and I’m not going to stop.”

She added that tik gave her a lot of energy and that she would continue to smoke until the day she dies.

“I don’t want to get fat again; it’s nice to be thin.”

Jamiela said she didn’t use the drug like other addicts and that she did not have to steal to get money to buy it.

“I don’t use it like other people. I repair cell phones and DVDs to support my habit.

“I’m glad that it doesn’t make me steal. The majority of people here smoke it and the merchant is in your face. It’s not a good environment to stop smoking.”

Cathy Karassellos, a clinical psychologist at the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, said she would not advise anyone to use tik as a weight-loss method.

“First of all, tik is very addictive. It starts with a weight problem and then it’s a dependency problem,” she explained.

“I would advise anyone who wants to lose weight to see a dietician and look for a healthy diet.”

A tik-user’s appearance was also negatively affected by the drug, Karassellos added.

“It affects the teeth, mouth, skin and hair. Tik is also very addictive, as time goes by the person would need more.

“If you use pills or drugs to lose weight, you won’t look good. Rather change your lifestyle and eating habits.”

* The Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre can be reached on 021 447 8026.

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Cape Argus