Drug abuse in SA is a cause for concern

Smokers' fingers and lips are burnt and blister due to addicts not wanting to throw away any butts of their nyaope, it's treated as if it is gold.

MOKOPANE – Dorijn Verwey, owner of Bread for Life Rehab, talked to Bosveld and said drug abuse in South Africa is on the rise. “There is a drug freely available in the townships similar to flakka that was introduced in the late 90’s to the streets of South Africa Townships and was legal to use as early as three years ago.

“Nyaope or whoonga as it’s called in South Africa are laced white powder containing heroine and a mixture of almost anything and antiretroviral medications which is then heated, sprinkled, rolled and smoked as a joint. It’s sold as bags for R35 or per joint at a cost of R10 to R15 and users get high within a few minutes of inhaling it.

In March 2014 the South African government became concerned about the increase in the use of the nyaope but it took a while for it to be classed as a dangerous drug. It was made an illegal substance in March 2014 and carries a 15-year jail term for selling and using the drug.”

Verwey said just like nyaope, flakka can cause heart palpitations and aggressive, violent behavior. The use of this drug can affect the kidneys, leading to kidney failure or death.

Addicts have severe physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms due to the heroin in nyaope. “Smokers’ fingers and lips are burned and blister due to addicts not want to throw away any butts of their nyaope, it’s treated as if it is gold. In order to by the drug, men have become rent boys or gay escorts and women prostitutes. People are finding themselves caught in a vicious circle of poverty, a lack of education and unemployment.

A marijuana joint laced with the white powder.

“Nyaope and flakka is an inexpensive high and what most addicts don’t take in consideration is the first time that you use flaka it rewires your brain and cause permanent brain damage that are irreversible or treatable.”

Verwey said the most dangerous drug at this stage is krokodil. “Users of krokodil are attracted to the drug due to its low price. Krokodil is considered more dangerous than heroin because it is often homemade, with ingredients including painkillers, iodine, lighter fluid and industrial cleaning agents. This chemical make-up makes the drug highly dangerous and likely to cause gangrene and eventually rotting of the flesh. Desperate users have begun engaging in a practice that is so dangerous it is almost unthinkable.

“They deliberately inject themselves with another addict’s blood, in an attempt to share the high or to satisfy the urge for the drug. The practice, called flash-blood or sometimes flush-blood, is commonly used in the townships at a cost of R5 per injection. It has major health and life-threatening implications that can lead to death.”

Ten of the most dangerous street drugs:

Krokodil, is considered more dangerous than heroin because it is often homemade, with ingredients including painkillers, iodine, lighter fluid and industrial cleaning agents and antiretroviral medication.

Whoonga is a combination of antiretroviral drugs, used to treat HIV, and various cutting agents such as detergents and poisons.

Bath salts are a synthetic crystalline drug that is generally available and may sound harmless, they certainly aren’t. They are most similar to mephedrone, and have recently been featured throughout social media due to the unusual psychiatric behaviorof its users.

Flakka is a stimulant with a similar chemical make-up to the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts.

AH-7921 is a synthetic opioid

Crystal meth it is one of the most destructive drugs in the world.

Crack cocaine drug dealers forming their cocaine into rock like shapes by using baking soda as a way of distilling the powder down into rock form.

Heroin is one of the world’s oldest drugs. Originally it was prescribed as a strong painkiller. Since then it has become one of the most destructive substances in the world, tearing apart communities and destroying families.

Scopolamine a derivative from the nightshade plant found in the Northern Indian region of South America.

Purple Drank a concoction of soda water, sweets and cold medicine high codeine content.

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Mariëtte Roos
Journalist (Bosveld Review)

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