Independent Online

Friday, August 12, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

'Thousands' of cough syrup bottles found in Verulam drug hot spot areas

Jackie Maimin, the chief executive of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA) said getting your hands on opioids isn’t always the shady street corner drug deal we picture in our minds.

Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa) said thousands of empty cough syrup bottles were discovered in and around the Verulam CBD in areas frequented by drug users. Picture: Rusa

Published Jul 4, 2022

Share

Durban - While conducting operations in the Verulam CBD and surrounding areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa) discovered “thousands” of empty cough syrup bottles in areas known to be frequented by drug users.

Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said members were conducting operations to apprehend wanted suspects that were terrorising locals when they came across the bottles.

Story continues below Advertisement

“Members of Rusa have discovered several thousands of empty cough syrup bottles in areas frequented by drug users,” he said.

Balram said the bottles were found under bridges on Todd Street, on an unused railway line near Groom Street and in drains along the R102 Southbound lanes in Verulam.

“All three areas are frequently used by druggies and suspects sought for robberies and stabbings in the Central Business Districts,” he said.

Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa) said thousands of empty cough syrup bottles were discovered in and around the Verulam CBD in areas frequented by drug users. Picture: Rusa

According to Balram, when Rusa officers made enquiries at local pharmacies, they were informed that these bottles of cough mixtures were purchased cheaply as over-the-counter drugs.

Story continues below Advertisement

Balram added that both Rusa and SAPS would continue conducting operations in the CBD this week to ensure public safety.

The South African National Council On Alcoholism And Drug Dependence (Sanca) said the misuse of prescription and over-the-counter products is a global public health issue that needs to be addressed.

Jackie Maimin, the chief executive of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), said getting your hands on opioids isn’t always the shady street corner drug deal we picture in our minds.

Story continues below Advertisement

“Codeine can, and is, being purchased over the counter at pharmacies with the intent to abuse it as an opioid,” she said.

Sanca said South Africa is one of the few countries in the world where codeine is still available over-the-counter.

“It is less stringently regulated (in SA) than other opiates such as morphine and oxycodone, getting and abusing it is relatively easy,” it said.

Story continues below Advertisement

The council said although accurate statistics for SA are not available, according to the Addiction Centre, it is estimated that 33 million people use codeine every year.

“As indicated in the ‘South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use’ study, South Africa has seen a sharp increase in the number of people being admitted to drug treatment centres for codeine addiction,” said Sanca.

Signs and symptoms of codeine addiction include:

  • Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Ignoring commitments and responsibilities
  • Problems at school or work
  • Unexplained absences from school or work

THE MERCURY

Related Topics:

KwaZulu-NatalDrugs

Share