Youth work against Crystal Meth – Tik – abuse

IMG_0112Tik, a cheap methamphetamine, is swamping South Africa. The rate of addiction can be extremely fast for some people. Tolerance develops rapidly, so users need more and more to get high, and start going on longer and longer binges. Some avoid sleep for several days while using. People also

Once it’s in a community it wreaks havoc on everyone. Our church employes a full time youth pastor who serves as a counselor at the local High school. His charity group, the guardian angels, decided to do something about addressing the substance abuse on the school grounds.

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Our Youth pastor Jan Venter, initiator of the guardian Angels care group, and Jenny de Klerk, the High Schools co-ordinator, discussing new projects!

I helped them out and had them “take back some territory” as I asked them under the guidance of Jan, our Emmanuel youth pastor and initiator of the guardian Angels, to pose at some of the “hot spots” of smoking and drug dealing on the school premises.

I took some photos and this was the result:

toosmartThe tik generation is enrolling into school ten years after the drug (crystal methamphetamine) hit the streets of South Africa. Children born from mothers who abused the substance during pregnancy are now living with side-effects characterized by those similar to foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), but far worse. In some classrooms in the Cape Flats up to half of the students show symptoms of FAS/foetal-tik symptoms, namely brain damage, facial deformities and growth defects.

Luckily the epidemic has not hit Limpopo that hard (yet?).

That’s why we found it necessary to inform our students thoroughly on the subjects of drugs in a very visual way. Last friday I spoke to about 100 youth on the origins of joints that are often mixed with meth, and how meth is produced and why it is so highly addictive. Yes, some chemistry and biology was involved but it was all quite entertaining.

We even did our own “faces of meth” (ever googled that in image search?) experiment:

facebymethAs the head students of both Primary and High School attend our Youth meetings I find it really important not just only inform the kids present why drugs are never an option but to challenge them to reach out to those who stand at the sidelines. Those kids are often already marginalized by poverty, problematic backgrounds, poor self-esteem and highly vulnerable to drugs. Often kids get introduced into drug-using circles in order to feel more grown up, to “belong”, to be cool.

And even that first joint can ruin such a child’s life forever. Crystal meth, tik, sprinkled on top of marijuana, it is a highly addictive, life-wrecking cocktail, and renders women and girl tik addicts extremely vulnerable.

Sometimes it feel like the “good kids” couldn’t care less about the endangered ones, often even somewhat happy that there’s less competition around for them.

We got some pretty rich people in our towns leadership, building themselves outrageous mansions on top of the hill with municipal money while the schools and roads are in disrepair and the hospitals are less than adequately equipped. A doctor friend of mine just told me this week there weren’t even latex gloves provided and so his nurses refused to treat even badly injured children … this is Africa. In my German home we were taught to care about each other. Africa? it’s every newly empowered BEE winner for himself.

My job? Trying to instill some compassion to reach out to everybody else like the desolate kids in the bushes in front of the mansions …

Some of the fun people of our Youth who come from great backgrounds, and will hopefully become multiplicands of a new moral standard and community development in South Africa.
Sharing some cool facts with the youth.

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9 thoughts on “Youth work against Crystal Meth – Tik – abuse”

    1. The most important influence in this are children’s peers. We are trying to build up a strong Christian youth group to change the tide in our town – compassion, reaching out and being not too cool to help the “uncool” ones are essential values.

  1. “Sometimes it feel like the “good kids” couldn’t care less about the endangered ones, often even somewhat happy that there’s less competition around for them.”

    It’s been said so often, it’s become almost a cliché: “All that is needed for Evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” That’s as true about drug and alcohol abuse as it is about human rights.

    1. Sadly so. Sat with an African leader of the board of education in our province addressing the many drug-related rapes and murders every weekend in the poor communities. He shrugged and told be quite arrogantly that he has but 10 years left to go on pension, so why bother. … Weeping for the lack of Godly leadership in Africa ….

    1. Thanks. What’s really bad is that the “good kids” often do not care a lot about reaching out to those at risk of falling prey to the false promises of the drug. Tik is cheap and it’s effects on the communities are devastating.

  2. Reblogged this on Intercession and commented:
    Please pray for the young leaders in the High School, who attend our church. They tend to often only look out for themselves and forget about those less fortunate. The marginalized, lonely children from broken backgrounds are the first to fall for the lures of drug abuse. We do not want this in our community. Pray for unselfish love amongst the Youth.

  3. This action was actually done to inform the clean young people on how the drug is made, how it works and why it is so devastating, so that they can go into their communities and spread the word in order to prevent their peers to get addicted.

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