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A parents guide to TIK

TIK! Is the common street name for Crystal Methamphetamine - one of the most crippling drugs available to the youth in our community.


The popularity of TIK as a drug stems from the almost immediate high through smoking this substance, coupled with it’s low cost compared to higher end drugs. A single hit of TIK has a street value of around R 30.


TIK can be manufactured by anyone with a reasonable chemistry background and the components are far too readily available. Consequently, TIK is often manufactured in home based Labs which are set up on kitchen counters or garages - areas that are far from safe or hygienic for the manufacture of any chemical substance. This factor increases the risk when users buy TIK as the chances of a “bad batch” are relatively high. TIK labs are often identified by the presence of excessive numbers of coffee filters, flu tablet boxes
and the strong smell of acidic chemicals.


TIK labs in any community are a high risk because of the volatility of the operation as well as the type of characters it’s likely to attract to the area. Inside TIK labs, a sticky golden brown stain is often seen around the cooking area as a result of the fumes created during the process.

A person who is using TIK will present as being highly anxious, erratic and full of energy just after use and can also appear this way when withdrawal symptoms set in.


TIK is addictive from the first use. With prolonged use of this drug, the user will lose weight at an alarming rate, their skin (particularly facial area) will start to show signs of pock-marks from dehydration as the users organs struggle to cope with the side effects of the drug.


Sadly TIK is sold in most communities as a result of it’s ease of manufacture compared to other drugs, its’ low street price and the size of a single “hit” which is relatively easy to conceal.


TIK is packaged in straws or wrapped in small (tiny) pieces of plastic packets and sealed. It can also be sold as small crystals in plastic packets measuring about 2cm by 1cm. Some TIK addicts will acquire Xylotox tubes - a common local anaesthetic to mix with their TIK. TIK pipes are equally popular as the drug is generally heated in a pipe, lightbulb or similar apparatus and the fumes then inhaled. The battle against drugs is fought by the Police on various levels, however drug dealing is ultimately a business, a business with a captive market that requires no marketing, has upwards of a 300% margin on stock, low rentals because of their area of operations, staff don’t have to be UIF registered or claim benefits when they’re fired...


Apart from the reprehensible product - it’s the ultimate business. As fast as the authorities are able to close one dealer down, the demand from users will create another one and so the cycle continues. The only hope we have of successfully reducing the drug trade and it’s impact on our society is to kill the trade’s client base. Through social crime prevention, we’re able to make the youth more resilient to the temptation of drugs. Using educational tools and speaking openly with the youth about the risks and realities of drugs we at least have a hope of reducing the drug dealers client base.


My experience has taught me that very few teenagers with strong self confidence, a sense of self respect and an interest in sports tend to stray towards drugs. While this is no absolute guarantee it can certainly stand to reason that concentrating on building our childrens self esteem and teaching them emotional coping skills through adolescence will make them less likely to turn to the allure of a quick fix through drugs. Drugs appeal most commonly to our youth as a means of escape from pressures that come with adolescence, pressures that they’re not capable of handling. Many of the teens that I have interviewed who are using TIK admit that they first used it out of curiosity or to get through a tough emotional time.


As adults it is easy for us to reflect on our teenage years and wonder what pressure a teenager could possibly have compared to the adult world of marriage, divorce, bonds, inflation and a myriad of other challenges. In the world of a teenager, their pressures feel just as bad however they don’t have the benefit of much previous life experience to draw on in order to resolve these or work through them. Positive confidence building, talking to our children openly and boosting their confidence in their own ability to achieve is possibly our best weapon against their turning to the likes of TIK. It’s easy to sprout terms like “positive confidence building” and “talking openly” but as a parent it can sometimes be difficult to identify exactly what these activities are. 


Some of the things I’m referring to are really the simple ones - taking time out to spend with kids and show a genuine interest in what’s happening in their lives, discuss things in your teenage years that had an impact on your life and how you handled them. If your child has an interest in sport, encourage it. Nurture it and promote it as much as possible, sport is a great defence for teenagers against peer-pressure. 

It’s an easy comeback to the old “come on, just try a little bit...” When your child can reply “are you crazy? I would, but my sport means too much to me to even try.” A simple thing like this allows a teenager to back down from what could be a huge amount of peer pressure while still saving face. Counseling is available to parents and children with TIK addictions via the local SAPS / CIC at no cost.


Copyright: Craig Pedersen - Consulting Security Project Manager