Cannabis remains the most used drug in South Africa even though amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) like Tik pose the greatest threat, says the Central Drug Authority.
"Cannabis abuse in South Africa is twice the global norm," CDA deputy chairman David Bayever told the media, law enforcement and international representatives at a presentation.
While the international norm was four percent, in South Africa it was just over eight percent of the population who used cannabis.
Bayever said cannabis was the major drug choice among South Africans.
He also said the cannabis produced in South Africa was more potent than that of most other countries. This is because of the high levels of tetrahydrocannabol (THC) which makes the drug more addictive.
However, Tik and its ATS counterparts remain the biggest threat.
Production is also made easier because the ingredients used - ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (precursor drugs) - are produced in the country and therefore do not need to be smuggled in, which is also costly.
The Southern African representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Jonathan Lucas said the Tik problem at present had the potential to become even more of a threat.
"You can get more profit out of Tik," he said.
He said regional co-operation was needed to combat the flow of drugs, especially precursor drugs.
"The most important thing is to support the chemical monitoring unit together with the pharmaceutical companies.
"If the countries in Southern Africa do not take the control of chemical precursor as an important issue you're going to have a major problem," said Lucas.
(Sapa, February 2009)
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