The main drugs of choice in South Africa are alcohol, cannabis, heroin and methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is locally known as tik. Most heroin is smoked mixed with cannabis, a popular mix called whoonga, cocktail or nyope. Heroin injection, however, has been increasing in recent years.
Harm reduction programmes were introduced in South Africa only in 2014, focusing on PWID. South Africa counts with a progressive legal framework around drug policies, supporting a harm reduction approach. Nevertheless, and despite being considered a middle-income country, government funding for harm reduction is still very limited. Moral issues around drugs play an important role in this disparity.
Mainline in South Africa
With the help of Bridging the Gaps Program, in 2 years’ time 3 Needles and Syringe Programmes (NSP) for People who Inject Drugs (PWID) were built and developed in 3 key-cities (Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria).
Some of the activities offered by the programmes are HIV prevention and testing, needle and syringe distribution, drop in centres, and referral to other services.
On the advocacy side
Mainline supports the development of two recently born regional drug users’ networks, documentation of human rights violation towards PWUD, media articles on human rights for PWUD and national events to debate drug policies.
Read here one excellent example of such an event: the RUN 2016 - SA Drug Policy Week.
As a result of advocacy efforts
Three new Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) pilots will start in 2017 in Durban (Kwazulu Natal), Cape Town (Western Cape) and Pretoria (Gauteng). To support this, Mainline recently delivered a training on OST to South African outreach workers, together with our local partners.
Training focused on understanding the medical aspects of OST and possibilities of psychosocial assistance for OST clients. Read more about the training
Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa and Tanzania (new!)The Bridging the Gaps programme is awarded a second phase of funding by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bridging the Gaps 2 started in January 2016 and continues to 2020. The shared goals remain the same as the first programme: to improve the health and rights of people who use drugs, sex workers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Transition management in Georgia: everyone deserves a second chance!Everyone deserves a second chance in life. But how can you best support people who were just released from prison? What does quality support look like where it comes to the rehabilitation and resocialisation of inmates, former inmates and probationers? And what level of additional support does a person who uses drugs need in this process? A new project in Georgia intends to set the standard.
Tina and Slamming in a sexual settingMainline, together with SOA Aids Nederland, presented: 'Tina and Slamming'. This report addresses the use of methamphetamine (crystal meth or tina) and slamming (intravenous use) as a route of administration, by men who have sex with men (MSM), in a sexual setting - also known as chemsex.
Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa and Tanzania (BtG2)In the context of the Bridging the Gaps program, Mainline works with local partners in five countries to improve the health and human rights of drug users.
Back to SocietyOver two years ago, a new government came to power in Georgia. Many prisoners were then released at a rapid pace. They were not well prepared for their release and encountered problems with reintegration. Among these persons were many who use drugs.
Prevention of GHB overdoseIn the Netherlands and Belgium, the number of young people frequently using gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) has been rising. GHB is used in nightlife. It is estimated that in the Netherlands alone there is a group of 22,000 people who use GHB daily and who have developed a strong physical dependence on GHB.
Hepatitis C care for PUDFrom 2014 till 2015 Mainline, together with its local partner Tanadgoma, implemented a series of interventions around Hepatitis C (HCV). The aim of the project was to understand the gaps and barriers to enrolment in the care cascade of hepatitis C prevention and treatment from the community perspective.
Strong connections between use of drugs and unsafe sex workOn the initiative of Mainline, Prostitutie & Gezondheidscentrum 292 / Prostitution & Health Centre 292, P&G292 carried out a survey of male and transgender sex workers between November 2013 and February 2014 in close cooperation with the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD).
Tikking the BoxesUntil 2014, Mainline worked on the project Tikking the Boxes in South Africa. Since January 2015, South Africa has been participating in the Bridging the Gaps programme.
GeorgiaBetween 2010 and 2012, Mainline worked with Alternative Georgia and Tanadgoma on the project ‘Humanity First’. The goal of the project was the promotion of respect for the human rights of drug users and more specifically the prevention of unnecessary repression of drug users by the authorities.
UkraineWorldwide, Ukraine is among the countries with the highest percentage of prisoners. Fifteen percent of the Ukrainians with HIV are imprisoned. Most of these were infected due to unsafe use of drugs. Among prisoners and prison personnel there is a lack of knowledge of HIV or related topics such as tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and hepatitis A, B, and C.
BosniaIn 2012, Mainline cooperated with Association PROI in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bosnia there is still only little cooperation between the police and advocacy groups working on behalf of drug users and sex workers.
RussiaMainline's international activities began in Russia. Between 2004 and 2010, we established cooperation with Parents against Drugs, a non-governmental agency in the industrial city of Togliatti.
MoldovaMoldova is a small country between Romania and Ukraine with approximately four million inhabitants. It is estimated that between half a million and one million Moldovans live abroad. Many young people and children grow up with only one parent or no parents around. These young people are vulnerable to becoming drug users and to all of the risks that this involves.
SerbiaApproximately one hundred thousand drug users live in the Serbian capital city of Belgrade. They are frequently denied medical care. This is the case partly because drug users do not have the required papers and partly due to social workers' prejudices about and fear of drug users.
Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal & PakistanThe project ‘Extending the Continuum’ debunks the preconception that active drug users cannot be therapy-compliant if they are using ARVs.