Officials from the Botswana Police Service Diamond and Narcotics Division have confirmed a continuing and steady increase in the use of habit forming and addictive drugs, such as cocaine, crack and ecstasy.
Cocaine, also known as Coke, Charlie, snow or powder, is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug.
The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected while crack, which gets its name from the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated, produces vapours that are smoked.
Street names for this drug include lethoba, rock, or letlapa amongst many others.
In an interview, Senior Superintendent Drugs and Narcotics, Miriam Kilano, told The Telegraph, “Hard drugs are available in Botswana and looking at the rate at which people abuse drugs and alcohol, the need for a rehabilitation centre is way overdue. Currently there are a number of cases pending before the courts. Recently, we nabbed a suspect with over fifty grams of cocaine and the matter is before the courts.”
“So serious is this trend that we have had complaints parents who fear their kids are taking these drugs and we fear it has entered our schools”.
Though she was quick to point out that her officers are well equipped to control this growing trend, she added that “we have six sniffer dogs as well as high tech equipment at our airports and border gates”.
Kilano admitted there are still some loopholes in the system and criminals can get away. According to Kilano, in one case, a suspect who was arrested on three different occasions, (first in December 2006 when he was found in possession of 112 ecstasy tablets with a street value of over P10 00, 157.186 grams cocaine and 595.3 grams of marijuana, then in November 2007 when again he was caught with cocaine powder and crack cocaine, the same suspect was arrested in May 2010 and found in possession with crack cocaine and ecstasy tablets but he got away due to technicalities.
Cocaine is a very expensive and addictive drug with prices ranging between a hundred and four hundred pula per gram depending on the quality. It is associated with people of higher income and carries a prison sentence of not more than ten years and a fine of P15 000. Ms Kilano said, currently, they don’t have any drugs cases involving politicians or business people though they won’t rule out the possibilities of their involvement. She appealed to the public to report anyone they suspect of dealing in illegal activities.
Recently, a local jazz muscian, and a friend were nabbed at the border allegedly for trying to smuggle drugs into South Africa.