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‘Go December Boss’ – CAT is the main drug in circulation this festive season.

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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.

 

Please call Mascom line number 14000 to enter the competition and help raise funds to keep BOSASNet afloat.

 

 

 

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U=U campaign packaging a headache for BHP, Ministry

Rachel Raditsebe

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TRICKY AFFAIR: Dr Joseph Makhema is still cautious on the matter of declaring the Undetectable to be Untransmittable

While there is no denying the proven science that an HIV positive person whose HIV viral load cannot be detected cannot transmit it to an HIV negative person, it is how that message is packaged and delivered to the public that is proving to be a difficulty.

This is according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) Dr Joseph Makhema.Internationally, the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign, has gained ground as scientific consensus has united around the concept that being undetectable means being unable to transmit HIV. The campaign has been endorsed by more than 350 HIV organisations from 34 countries, including leading scientific and medical organisations such as the International AIDS Society (IAS), UNAIDS, and the British HIV Association (BHIVA).

By taking HIV treatment consistently and on time, the HIV virus in the blood (also known as viral load) and other bodily fluids gets to undetectable levels. The drugs work by controlling the replication of HIV in the body by reducing the virus’ ability to make copies of itself.

“The drugs slow down the damage that the virus does to the immune system and allow people to live long, productive lives like everyone else without succumbing to the disease. These drugs are tremendously valuable in giving an excellent quality of life and preventing HIV transmission. There is absolutely no doubt that HIV treatment has revolutionised AIDS,” Dr Makhema explained.

However, he said for now BHP and the Health Ministry are still looking at the context and messaging of U=U and how to package it for the public. This, he explained is because, there are situations whether of illness, for example if someone has flu, they can get an exacerbation of viral rebound.

Or somebody gets a gastro intestinal disorder and they have diarrhoea or vomiting, they cannot keep the medication in their system. This would mean they are not fully able to keep the virus fully supressed and they can rebound.

“So we really don’t know at this point in time, we really need to have research done so that we are able to know how we are going to package and share the U=U messaging with the general public,” stated Dr Makhema.

According to Dr Makhema, the only time he would ever give anyone the go ahead to have unprotected sex is only if there was a test where before each sexual act, a person can check their viral load.
Until then he insists on condom use even with the other HIV prevention tools currently available like Safe Male Circumcision and more recently, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

“While we have got the tools to not only end the fear of HIV, but to end it as an epidemic, it’s important how we package that information so that our people really understand how they work,” Dr Makhema said.

Citing the condom as an example, Dr Makhema said that new infections are still high even though condoms are cheap, readily available and have been proven to be over 99 percent effective if used correctly at not only preventing HIV infection but also other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Overall, Dr Makhema said there was need for clear guidance on how individuals should be advised on using “treatment as prevention” as a safer sex option and this should be combined with renewed efforts to encourage condom use.

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Know your Candidate

BNF’s prodigal son, Koosaletse is back

The MidweekSun Admin

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ASPIRING MP: Otlaadisa Koosaletse

As 2019 is a year of the country’s General Elections, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) aspiring parliamentary candidate for Kanye North Constituency, Otlaadisa Koosaletse advises Batswana to be serious with their votes and vote legislators who will represent them well.
Koosaletse will be contesting for the area with the Botswana Democratic Party candidate, Thapelo Letsholo. The Midweek Sun reporter, Onneile Setlalekgosi interviewed the UDC candidate.

Q. Good Day Rre Koosaletse. Kindly share your political background.
A. I started politics at a very young age around the1970’s. I became instrumental in forming Botswana National Front (BNF) youth chapter which was called Botswana Youth Federation in 1976-1977 in Lobatse.
My breakthrough in politics was in 1994, when there were problems within the BNF. I ran for position of area MP under the opposition ticket and won comfortably. When BNF split in 1998 I left with others to form Botswana Congress Party. In 2001 I was elected second president of the BCP, which I led for four years.

Q. Why did you decide to stand for Kanye North Constituency?
A. One of the reasons I stood for the constituency is that I have a general belief that the whole area has been neglected by the ruling party for a long period. The culture of side-lining developments has triggered me to stand for the constituency.

Q. You are contesting to be a legislator representing Kanye North. In your view what are the duties of an area MP and what should your constituents expect from your representation?
A. Duties of the area MP involve being able to live closer to the constituents so that you are able to address their problems. There is an issue of developments and distribution of services, it is sad that there’s special economic zones and there is none in the area I am representing.
Special economic zones can foster and nurture developments which can create jobs. I will ensure that the area gets a fair share budget of the developments. Kanye North has no access roads, Moshana, Lekgoloboto, Ntlhantlhe and other surrounding areas are not connected to the clinics or schools, and the role of the area MP is to fully represent constituents in all aspects.

Q. What are the national priority issues you would want to take to parliament?
A.Issue of corruption, if we do not fight corruption in this country, we will end up being like any other republic that were once rich but now poor. I believe in the levelling of the playing field in politics, I think it is time that Botswana joins other 14 SADC countries which have political party funding.
It is sad that Botswana with its economy and Zambia are the only two countries in SADC without political party funding and that deprives people of good representation from their MPs because of financial instability if it does not happen, it will end up in whoever being financially stable going to parliament even when they are not right candidates.
The other priority is agro-based, that is our produce from the field. I do not believe in food security, I believe in food self-sufficiency, Batswana should be able to produce their own food.

Q. There has been an outcry from the Kanye community that they need a hospital. Do you think Kanye needs a hospital and if so why?
A. Yes, Kanye needs a new hospital. The old hospital (Kanye Adventist Day Hospital) has no room for expansion and it cannot accommodate the growing Kanye population anymore.
Even if the government can pump money into the hospital, there is no way it can ever expand due to many buildings near it. My contention is to fight for a district hospital if it happens that I win during the upcoming elections.

Q. What is your view on corruption and institutions put in place to fight it?
A. Corruption has been rampant in the country. Agencies put in place to fight corruption are now after petty issues such as arresting people for similar vehicle number plates, than focusing on fighting bigger issues of corruption such as economic crime.

Q. There has been a general problem of youth unemployment, how are you prepared to address it?
A. Unemployment is a very serious issue, but our economy is a jobless economy. The way to fight youth unemployment is not a way to throw a carrot at the youths and say they can all do tenders. I do not think enough has been done to help the youth. Even the shopping complexes are not youth friendly as they are expensive to rent.
Things have to be changed first. The economy does not cater for the youth. There are many graduates and skilled people and Botswana is not fully known in exporting skilled labour to other countries. Youth are exploited in such a way that at times multitudes of the youths compete for one tender job, which only generates revenue for the government by buying the tenders.  But I am going to address it seriously if I get to parliament.

Q. Education results have been declining throughout the country, how are you going to address the low pass rate in your area?
A. It is very serious that at this time we still have declining standards in Education results, by now the country should have learnt from the past mistakes which I believe will bring good results in Education.
I will ensure Education is taken seriously within the village, parents should be able to understand academic strength of children and make sure they offer them support where possible.

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