According to research by the Enact project, heroin is a significant problem in impoverished South African communities.
Senior analyst at The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime and author of the report, Simone Haysom, speaks to Ray White about the scourge on The Xolani Gwala Show.
She says the report follows previous work that maps a transnational heroin route crossing the region.
From Afghanistan across the Indian Ocean through east Africa, down through southern Africa. We believe that this route is almost entirely a transit route with drugs moving through and moving onwards to Europe and other more lucrative markets.— Simone Haysom, Senior analyst - The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
Haysom says the research also shows that there are what she terms under-appreciated and quite large local markets
The study found that the use of heroin is widespread in South Africa and prevalent in most of its cities.
In many of these cities, it is the primary drug of choice and in some cities like Cape Town, it is rivalling Tik as a major commodity underpinning the drug market.— Simone Haysom, Senior analyst - The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
Haysom believes that market growth has been driven by an increase in the supply of the drug.
She says the heroin trade is also linked to political finance in neighbouring countries, facilitated by high-level corruption particularly in Mozambique - a major feeder route.
The surge of the drug in South Africa for the past five to eight years happened at a time when law enforcement was severely eroded when resources were put towards political ends.— Simone Haysom, Senior analyst - The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
Heroin is used by all races, but the drug trade has had the most destructive effect in poor communities.— Simone Haysom, Senior analyst - The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
Listen below to the full interview: