22 Sep 2013

New drug scourge in South Africa

10:41 am on 22 September 2013

South Africa is in the grip of a new narcotic scourge. Nyaope is a heroin-based cocktail that sells for the equivalent of $US2 per hit.

Nyaope is a whitish powder consisting of low-grade heroin mixed with ingredients such as rat poison and sometimes even crushed-up medicine for people with HIV. Marijauna is sprinkled on top.

It is mostly found in Gauteng Province around Johannesburg. The BBC reports a similar cocktail known as whoonga is available on the streets of Durban.

Teenagers are increasingly being hooked. As their lives crumble, the BBC reports users soon start stealing to fuel the habit.

Last year there were 175,000 cases of drug-related crime in South Africa.

Even though it contains heroin, nyaope is still in the process of being classified as an illegal substance and the government says this has hampered efforts to prosecute cases involving the drug.

The BBC reports the government has pledged to set up a rehab centre in each of the country's nine provinces. But the government's intervention is woefully inadequate.