How the tobacco ban is affecting recovering drug addicts such as myself
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Dear Mr President
I am writing on behalf of all recovering addicts and alcoholics all over South Africa. I have been in recovery for a year and a half now.
You have banned the sales of tobacco products in South Africa.
Do you have any idea how this affects someone who has been hooked on crack cocaine and heroin for 15 years? It took me 15 years to find freedom from active addiction; it was the most difficult thing I've done in my life.
I speak on behalf of all addicts and alcoholics who have found a new way to live and found freedom through recovery.
Cigarettes and tobacco are the things we struggle to let go of because of our struggle with hard street drugs. It's one of those things that keep us calm. Mr President, the ban has not stopped us from getting tobacco products. We are finding them; we are street-wise.
The problem is, it takes us back to when we were in active addiction, running the streets, looking for our next fix, lying and cheating to get what we want, breaking the law.
We now find ourselves in a position where we are going back to drug dealers to get cigarettes.
Mr President, our lives are in danger from a relapse. It's not our fault that we suffer from a disease of addiction.
What you are doing right now is affecting thousands of recovering addicts’ mental state. We are at risk of relapse, and ultimately, dying because of the ban.
Your plan is not working because we are feeding the black market, a place we have not been to in a very long time. We are risking all we have worked for because you are forcing us to do this. We have worked hard, Mr President, to find freedom from this life.
The only option left now is to buy rolling tobacco with paper, and we are doing it. It reminds us of our days of rolling dagga, which eventually, led to a hole of isolation, suicidal tendencies, jail and death.
This is not fair. You are not helping; you are killing us.
I beg you, Mr President. Give me back my freedom from active addiction.