One in 5 people in SA use drugs

The face of drug addiction in South Africa has changed, with organisations estimating that about one in five people use drugs on a regular basis.

The advent of newer drugs, mostly consisting of a mixture of existing substances and additives available on the market, has fed the need for the “high” that temporarily allows users to disassociate with reality.

“Easy access to high quality and relatively cheap drugs, coupled with high levels of unemployment, trauma, violence and the deterioration of social support by family members, friends and the community, has led to the steady increase in the incidence of drug abuse and addiction in South Africa,” said Nathan Rogerson, of Akeso Clinics.

The sad state of affairs would take its toll on all affected by the scourge, and also impact negatively on productivity, he added.

Cheap drugs like nyaope have become the street drug of choice in Pretoria. As such the city has been identified as the capital of nyaope production and use.

It has also been described as “crack with a sickening twist”, and dealers and users have been known to mix a combination of heroin, detergents, ARVs and, in some quarters, battery fluid and/or rat poison.

It has become part of everyday culture in the city’s townships and has been identified as “a drug of poverty”.