‘Okapyp’ conduit to drug use

29 Sep 2017 13:00pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 29 SEP (NAMPA) – The general path to drug use among teenagers nowadays begins with smoking of the ‘okapyp’, followed by marijuana, then skunk, which often leads to psychosis in young users, a local social worker has said.
Also known as hookah, the “okapyp” is a tool used for smoking usually flavoured tobacco through water contained in a glass vessel.
During an interactive school activity organised under the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS)’s Underage Drug Use Prevention Programme here Thursday, Social Worker Lindi Hartung said young people ending up in emergency rooms during psychotic episodes are becoming increasingly common.
This evident problematic drug use among the youth has prompted the Directorate of Health for the //Kharas Region to pilot the ‘Dangers of Alcohol Abuse and Drug Use’ competition in the Keetmanshoop District.
On Thursday, dozens of learners from four schools in the southern town came together to pit essays, poems and stage dramas on drug and alcohol misuse against one another.
The learners of Keetmanshoop Junior Secondary School and high schools Suiderlig, PK de Villiers and JA Nel went all out in their performances to bring the realities of drugs to life.
Through their works, they highlighted the misconceptions teens have of cannabis, such as that it makes them smarter and appear more interesting.
More seriously, the art pieces explored the failures in parenting that lead to drug use, eventually resulting in transgressions and consequences such as rape, crime, suicide, violence and addiction.
The learners started in June to prepare for the interactive school initiative, with guidance from social workers and their life skills teachers.
They also explored the effects of legal and illicit drugs on both mental and physical health.
In a speech at the event, Keetmanshoop Municipality Public Relations Officer, Dawn Kruger added broken homes and poverty to the mix of causes of substance abuse.
“If a child is shown love, recognition, appreciation and encouragement, the magnitude of positivity that is instilled is unlimited,” she said.
The learners similarly rallied behind a message to parents to lead by example by not getting drunk or drugged in front of their children. They also said parents should remain involved in the education and social dealings of their children.