Drug authority’s board to be announced

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IOL news dec 24  ca p4 drugs-4 done CAPE ARGUS File photo: A police officer holds confiscated dagga, mandrax and tik. Picture: Matthew Jordaan

Johannesburg -A new board for the Central Drug Authority (CDA), a body that deals with substance abuse, will be announced soon, a government official said on Monday.

“A provisional date for the announcement and re-launch is March 18,” social development department spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant said.

Oliphant was responding to a claim by the Democratic Alliance that the CDA had not been formed, hampering efforts to fight substance abuse.

Oliphant said the previous board was dissolved in September last year and that the DA did not know about the appointment of new members because it was a departmental process.

The CDA is a statutory body mandated to advise the minister in matters relating to drug abuse and promote measures to help prevent drug abuse, and treat addicts.

The DA's social development shadow minister Mike Waters also called for nyaope to be classified as an illegal drug.

“The non-classification of nyaope as a drug is hampering efforts to clamp down on abuse of this substance,” Waters said in a statement.

Waters said it was important for nyaope (a cocktail of, among other things, rat poison, heroin and antiretroviral medication) to be classified as an illegal drug so its use could be curbed.

“Abuse of this substance has been linked to criminal activity, particularly in Gauteng, but without classification, the police cannot tackle the problem,” he said.

On Wednesday Gauteng social development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said the non-classification of nyaope as an illegal drug was undermining crime-fighting efforts. She said users often led disorganised lives, lied, terrorised their families, and stole.

Mayathula-Khoza said classification of nyaope as an illegal drug would help prevent crimes associated with the substance.

On Monday, the Sowetan quoted the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) saying it was difficult to classify cases involving nyaope.

“It is indeed difficult to classify nyaope cases. However, normal procedures apply to these cases,” NPA spokeswoman Phindile Louw told the newspaper.

“The substance nyaope is normally sent to a forensic lab. They analyse the substance and submit a report stating specifically what substances actually form part of the drug.” - Sapa

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