What is tik, and why is it so dangerous?

Tik (or tjoef, lollie, ice, or crystal meths) is a drug that looks like small blue or white rocks or crystals that are smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected into the veins.

Tik is dangerous and is very addictive. This means that when someone uses it, they want more and more of it very quickly. People who use tik might feel a rush of energy and happy feelings, but those feelings and the energy soon go away , and then a person usually feels quite down or nervous and jumpy. Wanting more tik can get people to make bad choices, like selling things they own, stealing, or having unprotected sex.

Tik is also dangerous because it can put you at risk for health problems. Someone who injects themselves with tik has a chance of getting HIV or hepatitis from sharing  needles. Tik also causes other problems like:

  • Skin sores
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tooth decay
  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)
  • Acting violently or being angry
  • Getting too hot and passing out 

Using tik can be deadly. If you or someone you know is using tik, get help now by calling the Substance Abuse Helpline on 0800 121314. You can also SMS their SMS line 32312, or WhatsApp the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) on 076 535 1701. To find out more about how addiction works, read our article “The reality of addiction”

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