Drug Addicts South African Townships’ Addictive Drug Cocktail

Hoodlums have used a small farming community in South Africa as a place where young men and women surround to smoke mixture of heroin.

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Dishevelled young men and women surround the corner shops of a small farming community in north-eastern South Africa smoking "nyaope" - a uniquely South African cocktail of drugs.

A mixture of low grade heroin, marijuana, cleaning detergents, rat poison and chlorine, nyaope is cheap costing only about $2 (£1.36) for a hit.

"I need help; I'm desperate to stop but it's just so hard," says Nomsa Mahlangu, tears rolling down her chapped cheeks.

"This drug has turned me into a thief because I steal from my family and neighbours to pay for my addiction."

Easily accessible from dealers around the shops of the township in Delmas in Mpumalanga province, the group she is with is smoking in public view: They prepare joints and then suck up a white powder before lighting up.

It is a scene common across the country, affecting tens of thousands of young people.

Ms Mahlangu has an enormous scar on the side of her face; she tells me she was stabbed with a broken beer bottle after she was caught stealing last September.

Another young man who will not disclose his name is visibly stoned; he appears to be falling asleep while leaning on the shop window.

I asked him how he is feeling. The 22-year-old smiles and shrugs his shoulder: "I'm in heaven."

His friends, whose thumbs, index fingers and lips are partially burnt, burst out laughing.

They tell me that throwing away a butt is akin to throwing away money - so they pull on it until there is nothing left, sometimes burning their hands and mouths.

As I watch them smoke, some explain that they became addicted because they were experimenting with drugs; others tell me that the frustration of not finding jobs led them to drugs.

Unconventional rehab

"Heaven" is short-lived as the effects wear off in a few hours, but trying to stop altogether can be hell for the addicts - and is expensive because of the medication needed to treat withdrawal symptoms.

Despite the disillusionment in the township, one man has decided that there is hope for drug addicts after seeing his own son "wasting his life".

Ms Mahlangu has an enormous scar on the side of her face; she tells me she was stabbed with a broken beer bottle after she was caught stealing last September.

Another young man who will not disclose his name is visibly stoned; he appears to be falling asleep while leaning on the shop window.

I asked him how he is feeling. The 22-year-old smiles and shrugs his shoulder: "I'm in heaven."

His friends, whose thumbs, index fingers and lips are partially burnt, burst out laughing.

They tell me that throwing away a butt is akin to throwing away money - so they pull on it until there is nothing left, sometimes burning their hands and mouths.

As I watch them smoke, some explain that they became addicted because they were experimenting with drugs; others tell me that the frustration of not finding jobs led them to drugs.

Source: BBC

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