Nyaope Addiction – the Forgotten Epidemic


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Nyaope is a street drug commonly found in South Africa. The main components of this drug is usually cannabis, heroin, Anti-RetroVirals (HIV/AIDS medication) and other materials such as cutting agents. Although we see so many young men and women, boys and girls in the streets of South Africa being enslaved by this street drug, very little has been published detailing the analysis and profiling of nyaope, yet it is such a destroyer of lives and communities.

Addicts of this particular drug often end up being homeless and estranged from their families because this drug forces them to make money in the streets so that they can feed their habit on a daily basis. These addicts often end up in the streets doing odd jobs, assisting people at taxi ranks, collecting recycling materials and even sometimes stealing to feed their their addiction.

“I started taking nyaope with some friends of mine from high school at the age of 14, and since then I was never the same person again. That drug controls and takes away your soul and you end up a zombie, just living for your next fix. Today I am 29 years old and I only stopped smoking at 27, I have no education because nyaope made me drop out of school. I have never had a girlfriend, I’ve never gone to parties, I don’t have an ID (identity document). Basically nyaope took away my entire existence, my entire youth, I did nothing that my peers did, I just wanted my next fix and absolutely nothing else,” said Zolani Mphoxo, a 29-year-old man from Daveyton, in the east of Johannesburg.

“My family tried many times to take me to rehab but every time I came home, I would just got back to the streets. I stopped smoking after I suffered from mob justice after the residents of the Daveyton hostel caught me trying to steal old car parts in the yard to take them to the scrapyard. They wanted to put a tyre around my neck and burn me alive, they said they were tired of us stealing from the community. My mom had to be called to the scene and she begged for my life and that is where I realized all the pain I was causing my mother and my family. No mother should go through such a thing, so without having to even go to rehab I stopped smoking and cleaned up my act after that,” he concluded.

This drug has destroyed the lives of many young boys and girls in working class communities yet never once has the government shown actual concern over this. Have they decided that the lives of these kids is just not worth bothering over? Because nyaope is very popular in working class communities only and not in rich communities, is that why the government chooses to just ignore the problem completely?

This article was submitted on 19 August 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article (https://karibu.org.za/nyaope-addiction-the-forgotten-epidemic/).

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