11 Apr 2019

Drug trafficking / Hiding in plain sight: Heroin’s stealthy takeover of South Africa

Heroin use is widespread across SA, with local and provincial governments bearing the brunt.

Combatting SA's booming heroin trade
©ENACT/Institute for Security Studies

The heroin route that crosses South Africa has created a regional heroin economy, with severe social and political repercussions. Heroin use has developed in both major cities and small towns – an important shift in local drug markets that is taking a toll on thousands of people.

This policy brief sheds light on the domestic heroin economy, analyses its implications and proposes responses to its drivers and consequences. An effective response will need to consider political factors and must be regionally coordinated. Market dynamics and harm-reduction approaches should also be included. The most sustainable strategies address root causes, disrupt markets and tackle corruption.

About the author

Simone Haysom is a senior analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, where she focuses on the nexus between corruption, governance and organised crime. Shepreviously worked at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and as an independent expert in urban change, displacement and humanitarian crises. She recently published a non-fiction book about vigilante violence and the South African Commission of Inquiry into Policing, The last words of Rowan du Preez: murder and conspiracy on the Cape Flats.

Photo © Stephen – Adobe Stock


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