'Speed' hits coast

14 November 2018 | Crime

A Walvis Bay businessman, who was arrested on Friday for alleged drug possession, was hospitalised over the weekend after he fell ill in police custody.

The 58-year-old businessman was allegedly found in possession of 98 sachets of 'smoke' and 70 sachets of 'wiz', forms or what is common known as 'speed', with an estimated value of N$18 760.

He was expected to make his first court appearance on Monday, but was transferred to Windhoek where he is currently recuperating in a private hospital. He faces charges of dealing in drugs and his first appearance was postponed to a later date.

During an operation spearheaded by the police, a substance was purchased, which was then tested at a laboratory.

Once confirmation was received that it contained amphetamines, the police raided a business premises and allegedly discovered more sachets locked in a safe.

It is suspected the businessman sold the sachets for N$100 each over-the-counter inside his shop.

'Wiz' commonly known as 'speed', is a synthetic drug which keeps users awake for extended periods and also quickens the heartbeat and breathing rate.

After using 'speed' the user feels more confident, outgoing and has a greater responsiveness to the outside world.

Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

It is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and obesity.

Amphetamine can cause allergic reactions, hallucinations, confusion, abnormal behaviour and high blood pressure.

Heavy users of the drug may be prone to sudden, violent and irrational acts.

In the short-term, memory and concentration are affected.

Tolerance for amphetamines can build quickly, so bigger doses are required for the same high.

Long-term users may become dependent on the buzz it gives them.

Heavy abuse over long periods can also place a serious strain on the heart and has been linked to mental illness. Amphetamine users have died from overdoses.

In addition, various videos have surfaced on social media, showing people rolling around uncontrollably, shouting and 'freaking out' or 'going crazy', after using synthetic marijuana, more commonly known as 'K2' or 'spice', which are also names for 'speed'. The psychotic effects of using K2 include extreme anxiety, confusion, paranoia and hallucinations.

Last month a video surfaced of two South African boys vomiting and writhing on the floor, after using the synthetic herbal blend. As previously reported by South African media, people have received medical treatment after smoking the same drug. These people exhibited symptoms such as vomiting, seizures and hyperactivity.

Otis Finck and Leandrea Louw

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