Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Link between Drugs and Crime

There has always been a link between crime and substance abuse. The crimes can be anything from drunk driving, assault, prostitution and robberies to domestic violence and even rape. The list can go on and on...

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However, sometimes the link between substance abuse and criminal activities can be a difficult one to understand. Is it drugs and alcohol that leads to crime or is it crime that leads to drug and alcohol abuse? Is it possible for someone who is not on drugs to decide to assault someone? Will someone who is not abusing alcohol engage in domestic violence?

Statistics show us that most people who use drugs and alcohol do not become addicts, they usually grow out of this phase and move on with their lives. But, there are cases where individuals who use too much will commit crimes, and it is true that these two factors are linked.

So, why is there such a strong connection between serious drug and alcohol use and criminal activities? It might be because the user has a decreased perception of social support and decreased social network. Other things that influence someone to turn to substance abuse and crime are poor living conditions, mental health, family and unemployment.

Alcohol and Crime

Alcohol is illegal to consume if you are the right age, but it causes so many violent crimes! A recent study showed that 1 in 5 people arrested by the police will test positive for alcohol. Alcohol is a factor in:

-- 60% of homicides
-- 75 % of stabbings
-- 70 % of beatings
-- 50 % of fights and domestic assaults

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Taking illegal drugs is a crime in almost all of the countries around the world, and it is almost always related to criminal activities.

However, a research shows that most drug users do not usually go on to commit crimes such as assault or robbery. Basically, this is saying that drug use is not necessarily linked to crime, even with people who have developed a serious addiction.

But, there is some link between those who do commit crimes and drug use. Assault, rape and violent acts are often linked to someone who is a heavy drug user, a lot of robberies are committed to support drug use!

There is a bit of fuzziness around why some substance abusers commit crimes and others don't. Factors like poverty, personality disorders and having been in prison previously are just some of the factors.

Drug Use and Prostitution
Image resultNaturally, drug use is linked to prostitution, especially street prostitutes. Estimates reveal that between 40 and 85 per cent of all prostitutes are drug users. Many prostitutes, men and women, are selling sex to support their drug habits. Prostitutes are often the victims of violent crimes, rapes, assaults and other serious crimes; but, because of their lifestyle and the work they do, they are unreported crimes. 

There’s no question that the relationship between drug use and crime is a causative one; drug abuse and criminal behaviour go hand-in-hand. 

NICRO is committed to turning lives around. If you fear that a loved one is involved in drugs or crime, do not hesitate to contact NICRO today! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

5 Most common drugs used by Teens

It is not uncommon for teens and young adults who use drugs or drink heavily to eventually turn into addicts!

If you or someone you know needs help in fighting drug abuse, there are a number of organisations ready to assist... Do not hesitate to contact NICRO, where a selection of help programmes are on offer, including the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment ADAPT.

Take a look at the 5 most commonly abused drugs by teens...

     1.       Alcohol

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Just because you allow your underage kid drink, and you see no harm in it, does not mean it is okay!

There are studies that show that children who start drinking before the age of 15 years are four times more likely to become alcoholics later in life. 

Teens that drink alcohol are more likely to experience...

-- Problems at school; bad grades
-- Fighting with friends and not joining in on activities
-- Running into trouble with the law
-- Illnesses
-- Unsafe sex, sometimes with someone they don't know
-- Disruption of physical and mental growth
-- Physical or sexual assault
-- Self-destructive or suicidal tendencies
-- Reckless, dangerous behaviour that could hurt the people around them
-- Short-term memory problems
-- Brain development issues that can affect them for the rest of their lives
-- Death by alcohol poisoning or accident
-- Traffic accidents and fatalities
-- Use of other drugs - cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, heroin

     2.       Marijuana

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Did you know, Marijuana is the most used illegal drug on the planet?

Read these interesting facts about Marijuana and you may think twice about using it...

-- The active ingredient of cannabis is the chemical THC. The chemical THC is found in marijuana, it can stay inside your body for months or even years. It is also know to damage your immune system.
-- Heavy marijuana can cause brain abnormalities and brain damage.
-- Everyone knows that Marijuana can get you high, but it can also do the opposite and make you feel depressed, paranoid, and psychotic.
-- Even small amounts of marijuana can cause infertility in men and women.
-- Marijuana smoke is more likely to cause cancer than regular cigarette smoke.
-- Young people using marijuana are more likely to start using harder drugs. In fact, over 99% of cocaine users used marijuana first.

     3.       Tobacco

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Most teens smoke cigarettes because they think it is "cool." But, how can they be "cool" if they cause cancer, heart disease and can lead to using other drugs.

Here are some interesting facts about Tobacco...

-- Teens who start smoking at a young age are more likely to use other dangerous substances, such as cocaine and marijuana.
-- Over half of the youth who started smoking before age 15 went on to use illicit drugs in their life.
-- The earlier a person starts using tobacco, the more likely it is that they will become an addict later on in life.
-- Those who have become heavy smokers are more likely to use alcohol and then become alcoholics.

     4.       Prescription Drugs

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Young people continue to think that prescription drugs are safe to use because of the fact that you can get them at the doctor or pharmacy.

In the end, prescription drugs are just as dangerous and come in different strengths and combinations.

According to a recent study, 21% of grade 12 learners have abused...

-- Adderall
-- Ritalin
-- Cough mixture
-- Tranquilizers
-- Amphetamines
-- Painkillers

     5.       Hallucinogens

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It's not the 60s anymore so you may think kids these days aren't looking to trip out. But you would be surprised to know that drugs such as LSD, acid and ecstasy are still very popular.

A teenagers brain is still developing, this is why hallucinogens are so dangerous. They change how young people see the world, develop feelings and opinions and they kill brain cells.

In films and TV series, we see people who take LSD, feel extremely euphoric and happy, with beautiful hallucinations. BUT LSD can also create a "bad trip" which causes feelings of fear, terror and insanity!

The “love drug” (ecstasy) can cause kids to make unwise decisions about sex while under the influence of the drug. It can lead to unprotected sex, to disease (STDs), and to unplanned pregnancy with an unknown partner.

Being honest with teens about the effects and dangers of drugs can help them make the right life choices.

It may seem hard or weird to talk to them about drugs, but kids ten-years-old and younger get offered drugs, and they certainly see drug use on TV, in movies, and on the internet.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

South Africa's Top Drugs

Drugs may bring joy and euphoria for a free fours, but what happens after can be compared to a living hell. It can happen as quick as a flash, but it will ruin the rest of your life.

A recent study showed that about 15% of South Africans suffer from drug abuse. Even though people in SA are using the same drugs as people across the world, there are a few substances that are a bit more popular than others...


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This is by far the most used drug on SA’s streets. It is a shock to many that it totals over 60% of cases involving drug abuse. Marijuana is still illegal in South Africa, but some health experts have tried to legalize it for medicinal use.

Street names: Dagga, weed, pot, boom, ganja
What does it look like? Leaves that are dried and sold in bags, often called “bankies”. Some dealers sell ready-made joints of marijuana which are ready to smoke.
Effects: The effects are different to every person, but in most cases it causes the user to feel extremely relaxed, often leading to laziness and extreme hunger. Depending on the strength of the marijuana, some users also experience mild hallucinations.
Long-term results: Changes in personality, moodiness, difficulty concentrating and possible damage to the brain and lungs.


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SA is actually the largest abuser of Mandrax (known as Quaalude) in the world. According to a recent study, a mix of Madrax and marijuana is the ideal drug of choice in SA.

Street names: White pipe, buttons, MX
What does it look like? It is sold in pill or tablet form and usually has a unique emblem. It also varies in colour.
Effects: It is often mixed with marijuana to amplify the effects of smoking marijuana.
Long-term results: Poor liver function, anaemia, chronic headaches, depression and insomnia.


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This drug has been popular on the streets since the year 2000. No one really knows what it contains, but most times it includes cannabis, meth and heroin. 

Street names: Whoonga, wunga
What does it look like? It is bought in powder form, mixed with marijuana and smoked.
Effects: Short term effects of euphoria and relaxation.
Long-term results: Insomnia, scarred veins, liver and kidney disease and mental breaks.


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Codeine is an ingredient found in cough mixtures, sinus medication and painkillers. Most blame the abuse of codeine on the fact that SA still sells codeine based products without any prescription.

Street names: Syrup, purple drank, cody, sizzurp, lean
What does it look like? Cough syrup, anti-allergy, sinus tablets and certain painkillers.
Effects: Codeine usually causes euphoria.
Long-term results: blurry vision, nausea, insomnia and joint pain.


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Originally used as a painkiller, cocaine has become a highly addictive recreational substance.

Street names: Coke, crack, C, snow, blow, bump, Charlie, line, Llelo
What does it look like?  Powder form and crystal form. The powder is snorted and the crystal is smoked.
Effects: The effects happen instantly, but only last a short period of time. They range from euphoria, high energy, alertness and self-confidence. However negative effects include aggression, headaches and insomnia.
Long-term results: Loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, difficulty swallowing, deviated septum, dramatic weight loss and loss of appetite.


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Also known as “uppers” amphetamines speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. A dangerous, addictive form of amphetamines is Crystal Meth.

Street names: Ice, tik, speed, crystal
What does it look like? The appearance is difference depending on the quality of the drug. It will often look milky or yellow if it is low quality. Sometimes they are also sold as tablets.
Effects: Happiness, confidence, non-stop talking and increased heart rate.
Long-term results: Psychosis including paranoia, hallucinations, memory loss, mood disorders, aggression and impaired motor skills.


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Although people rarely overdose on ecstasy or the pure form of it (MDMA), there has been incidents of contaminated pills making there way onto the market. These tablets can contain dangerous substances like rat poison or even cyanide!

Street names: Molly, love drug, Adam, Eve, beans, XTC
What does it look like? It is usually sold in tablet form with a unique picture engraved on each tablet. They also come in multiple colours.
Effects: Increased heart rate, jaw clenching, dry mouth, loss of appetite, high energy. Because Ecstasy makes your energy levels sky rocket, users often suffer from overheating and exhaustion.
Long-term effects: Brain damage, learning and emotion, depression, anxiety, kidney failure, convulsions and psychosis.


In the 1980s, heroin was an unknown drug in South Africa. However, it quickly gained popularity in SA's schools and rapidly infiltrated the system.

Street names: Smack, H, junk, hairy, harry, white
What does it look like? Powder form or as a liquid.
Effects: The effects of the drug are often unpredictable, which is why it often leads to overdoses. The user will experience intense relaxation and a trance-like state.
Long-term results: The drug relaxes the muscles, so in many cases it leads to the users heart stopping.

If you or someone you know needs help in fighting drug abuse, there are a number of organisations ready to assist... Do not hesitate to contact NICRO, where a number of programmes are on offer, including the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment ADAPT.