Cape Town - As the price of everything from bread to petrol goes up, the Daily Voice can reveal that the price of tik has dropped over the past 10 years.
And today we can show how greedy drug merchants cheat their addicted customers by watering down the deadly drug and charging less for it.
Top cops, merchants and tik addicts reveal that one of the ways drug dealers are getting more buck for their tik is to cut it with a variety of other substances, including drain cleaner, baby powder, battery acid and rat poison.
While a straw of pure tik, also known as methamphetamine, would cost a user R180 in 1995, the modern-day version is so watered down that merchants can charge as little as R20 a hit.
A 55-year-old woman, believed to be one of the first tik dealers on the Cape Flats, says dealers these days are choosing quantity over quality, in order to maximise profits.
The Parkwood woman, who has given up her life of crime, used to sell drugs such as tik, crack cocaine and Mandrax from 1995 to 2008.
She said that back in the day, a tik straw, which was about 1cm long, went for between R150 and R180.
“It costs R20 on the streets today for less than half a gram but it is not the same tik as 10 years ago, it’s poor quality mixed with a lot a of stuff.”
In 2007, a gram of tik cost between R300 and R350, while half a gram was R150, and a straw R50.
“That was good tik, it was like rocks, and you would get a piece of rock for R80 to R100,” she said.
We met a 54-year-old woman in Lavender Hill who has been using tik for a decade.
She said: “When you don’t sell good quality, we just don’t buy by you again. The poorer the quality, the high is much less.”
The woman said dealers are also making tik “more attractive and trendy” to the youth by adding colours and giving it nicknames.
“You get yellow tik, it doesn’t matter the colour, you still pay the same price,” she explains.
“You also get pink pussy, strawberry and banana [which is more expensive].”
Meanwhile, Desmond Laing, Station Commander at Philippi Police Station, said the deadly drug comes cheap in his precinct.
“The price of tik has to do with the quality, you get water based which evaporates quickly and so does the high,” he explains.
“A straw, which was oil-based, hit would last maybe eight to nine hours 10 years ago, now you get less tik.
“The hit only lasts three to four hours then the addict needs to buy more to get that same kick.
“The drug dealers want to make money, that is why you can buy a small packet of tik for R15 to 25, but it depends where on the Flats you buy it.
“In Rylands and more affluent areas you will pay more.
Ashley Potts, director at the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, said with tricks like this, the tik scourge will be hard to stop.
“Dealers know how addictive the substance is so they are almost guaranteed users will return.”