Methamphetamine (MA), commonly known by the street name “tik” in South Africa, is a highly addictive stimulant whose production and abuse has increased dramatically. Many questions remain unanswered as to how prevalent is drug abuse and the implications of drug use, especially on disease burden, healthcare and budgetary demands as well as risky behaviour. There is a need to understand the problem, measure drug use trends, design appropriate intervention measures and evaluate the success of these interventions. As is demonstrated here mathematical models can help in modelling the “tik” epidemic.
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in treatment demand for abuse of drugs including methamphetamine (MA) in the Western Cape Province (WCP) of South Africa. MA use has been linked to risky sexual behaviour and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Thus, MA use has immense public health implications. It is against this background that a model was formulated to study the dynamics of treatment use for MA abuse in the WCP, with the aim of providing a predictive tool for the prevalence of drug use. The results of this study are presented in this article.