Meth / Khat or Cat? Whats the difference
The Moon Addiction Recovery Centre
Family Counselling, Addiction, Substance Abuse
The depth of illusion, deception or just plain ignorance out there is frustrating, even to the extent of the many professional entities that report on these substances. Before writing any article I like to do a bit of research, especially in terms of statistics and scientific studies, it is amazing what you can find out there and what is being sold to the public as either ignorance or lies.
Anyway, the question around the differences between Khat, Cat and Meth is one of the most prevalent in my outpatient groups and it comes up on a regular basis. There seems to be this distinction that in reality does not exist in the South African drug market. I have outlined the three different drugs for the purpose of clarity:
A stimulant drug derived from a shrub in East Africa and southern Arabia. This drug is not found in South Africa – people often think that this is the substance they are using when talking about Cat. The mind-altering chemical found in the plant is cathinone but this is where the similarity ends, what we see on the streets of South Africa is a synthetic concoction.
Methcathinone from which the drug is named is a synthetic drug “cooked” up from Drain cleaners, battery acid, lantern fuel, cat litter, fertilizer and various combinations of other toxic substances.
Crystal Meth (Tik):
Methamphetamine is made from the same base substances as Cat and in fact; Cat can be reduced to create meth, the only difference is the purity, the intensity and prolonged effects of the “high”. It is the same substance in the same way that Cocaine and Crack are the same substance, just varying strengths.
“Crystal Meth users often have what we call “junkie pride” and like to justify that proper crystal meth is made from the purest of chemicals… Sure, the purest of chemicals that are used to make battery acid, lantern fuel, cat litter etc etc. No matter from what direction you look at it from, a horse will still be a horse.”
Unlike crack and cocaine however, cat and meth do not have to look different. Cat which generally comes in a powder or small crystals is essentially meth, today every test that we do for Cat users are testing positive for meth.
The illusion seems to create better statistics and an illusion that the drug problem is not expanding as rapidly as one thinks. When you are able to break up one drugs statistics into three separate ones, you have essentially cut the problem down by two thirds. Simple statistical manipulation.
The Western Cape has experienced the devastating effects of a meth ravaged community and the spread has been epidemic. Gauteng is now in the same grip of an epidemic and it will only be 10 years from now that we as a country will feel the true effects. Meth use has largely been viewed as a disadvantaged community problem and sadly these communities are not given the support they so desperately need, now that it is a national problem are we still going to turn a blind eye?
The US is testament to the massive effects meth has had on its population and especially its youth, only now are they implementing an effective treatment plan. I doubt that South Africa could afford a plan of this level, yet that is exactly what we need to be doing.
Do we learn from the US or do we repeat their mistake? Recovering Addicts are taught to face the insanity of their disease - “making the same mistake over and over expecting a different result. “ Methinks addicts are not the only ones who are insane.
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