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Parents warned of drug disguised as candy

The drug is believed to be distributed through street vendors near local schools.

Crystal meth disguised as candy, in a sherbet form and sold to children. Picture: Anti-Drug Alliance SA.

JOHANNESBURG - ER 24 has urged parents to watch out for the distribution of a crystal meth drug disguised as candy pops or pop rocks.

Strawberry quick meth, a combination of sugar, food colouring, flavourants and meth was thought to be a hoax until recently.

South Africa's Anti-Drug Alliance says it has received numerous reports on the drug which is easily accessible to children and distributed through street vendors near local schools.

Spokesperson for Anti-Drug Alliance SA, Quintin van Kerken, said dealers had identified and targetted a number of schools in Gauteng.

So far it's been determined that there are four flavours: strawberry, creme soda, bubble gum and caramel, each carrying a different amount of crystal meth.

A Carte Blanche investigation initially suspected it was a hoax - but later confirmed the drug was real.

Van Kerken said he suspected that the distribution of the drug may be another way for dealers to build a young clientele.

"The younger you get them, the longer you have them as a customer. Once they've gotten you past the strongest flavour, the next time the child comes, the dealer says, 'you were not buying sweets from me, this is what you were buying, and it's going to cost you this much.'"

According to van Kerken drug use and abuse among school children is increasing at alarming rates.

ER 24 spokesperson, Chitra Bodasing, said parents needed to be on the lookout for its symptoms on their children.

"Symptoms includes chattiness, nervousness, dry mouth, dilated pupils, and extreme energy, followed by chronic fatigue. Parents should seek help for children immediately should it be found that have ingested the drug. For further information contact the Anti-Drug Alliance SA group for its services."

The drug is believed to be fatal in severe cases.