'Go December Boss’- CAT is the main drug in circulation this festive season.
The local adage ‘Go December Boss’ is affiliated with the vibe and hype of December, one of the silliest seasons of the year. A time when new experiences are explored and high risks and experiments are taken. With travel people seek a new location to visit with loved ones.
In regards to dining some may choose a different restaurant from the norm or eat and prepare recipes they normally would not. This is also a time when alcohol and drugs are in good supply and are easily accessible. Both the Botswana Police and the Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNet) confirm that the main illegal drug currently circulating is CAT, internationally known as ‘The poor man’s cocaine’.
“CAT is the street name. In Setswana it’s called Katse. When we subject the drug to analysis we find Cathinone and other substances,” explains the Ass. Supt, Officer in Charge of Investigations (Narcotics) at Botswana Police, Petrus Nkgetse.
The Narcotics team started to notice CAT in Botswana in early January 2015; CAT is a white coloured drug that is mainly snorted through the nose. Amongst the illegal substances, the most popularly used as observed over the years by the police has been Marijuana, followed by Crack Cocaine, and Ecstasy.
Marijuana is constantly leading in terms of usage and is also the most affordable illegal drug. “People who were using Crack Cocaine have moved on to CAT. The drug users range from 18 – 45 years,” shares Nkgetse.
“CAT is created with substances which have major side effects. You will notice with CAT users that they have damage to the mucous membrane of their nose,” observes the policeman. CAT is currently selling on the streets for P100 per sachet.
Listening to the Clinical Programmes Manager at the Botswana Substance Abuse Support one gets an insight into the life of an addict. This is someone who will sell anything including him/herself to get another hit.
The ranges of substances that are used in Botswana are just as elaborate as those used by the rest of the world’s addicts, she says. She lists as common among the youth the use of Alcohol, Cigarettes (Nicotine) and Marijuana (Weed).
Among the ‘older youth’ or those who are working and have jobs the trending drugs are currently CAT, Crack Cocaine and Alcohol. “The more intensified drugs such as CAT, Ecstasy, Heroine and Cocaine are being used by the older youth or the working youth.”
Manyanda therefore concurs with the Botswana Police that CAT is the trending drug. “It’s called CAT. Others suspect its Crystal Meth. We are still not sure of the content of the drug,” she adds. Nkgetse also agrees with Manyanda that, “To increase the potency of the drug, the sellers will add anything because nothing is regulated.”
The medicine cabinet or the place you stash your winter season leftovers in the house is a great source for addicts who use Codeine; which is found in regular cough syrups. “If you hear your child saying we are chilling and drinking some ‘lean’ you must know they are getting high on Codeine,” she shares.
A saying she’s heard from her young clients is that, “We don’t hustle with dealers,” when elaborated it means the children resort to their parent’s medicines to get high. Another popular drug found in homes is the over the counter ‘sleeping pill’.
The Clinical Manager has observed that once you get one person reporting any particular drug use it means the problem is widespread. She observes that in 2012 BOSASNet had no clients addicted to Cocaine but of late they are on their 11th Cocaine addicted client.
“With drug abuse it is hard to know the exact numbers because people only come when there is a problem.” She adds that it is usually the teachers, employers and parents who identify drug abusers and report the matter.
The observation from both professionals is that drugs are offered to you. “Drug dealers are smart. Initially they give you the drugs for free, knowing that once you are hooked you will be the one chasing them,” adds Nkgetse. “Just because the drug is undetectable via the breather-lizer, it doesn’t make it okay,” advises the BOSASNet representative.
If you or anyone you know needs help with substance abuse kindly contact BOSASNet on 3959119 and 3913490 or 72659891.
If you would like to report any matter to do with above contact the Botswana Police on 999.