Studies by the MRC reveal the extent and nature of drug abuse in South Africa:
- Ecstasy, LSD and Speed is more commonly used by younger persons as is the inhaling of solvents.
- Dagga, Mandrax and glue are mainly used by people in disadvantaged communities, while cocaine and Ecstasy is more commonly used by middle and upper class people.
- Dagga, Mandrax, alcohol and crack are frequently used by sex workers.
- Excluding alcohol, the most common ingestion of drugs in South Africa is via smoking.
- Local research has found rates of foetal alcohol syndrome in excess of 30 per 1000 in certain high risk communities, at least three times higher than the highest rates reported in high risk communities in the USA.
The MRC estimates that the crime committed in order to support drug users’ habits is in excess of R10 billion per year.