Aids to Addiction

Aids to Addiction They were designed to save lives, but precious anti-retrovirals given to fight Aids in South Africa's townships are being stolen by street gangs to produce Nyaope, a highly addictive and destructive new drug.
"I have smoked other drugs before, but they never gave me the high I wanted. That's why it's better to smoke nyaope" Shambalane Ndlovu, a 23-year-old addict explains. He, like other addicts across the country, is crushing up and devouring the life-saving drugs just to get a hallucinogenic high. But the nyaope mix can also include rat poison, third grade heroin and cleaning detergents like VIM. Apart from just destroying their own lives, nyaope addicts have a huge impact on those around them. "Shambalane steals from me, his own mother...I have nothing." Dr Oscar Makhublele knows full well just how devastating the effects of nyaope can be. He explains how his own cousin is hooked and how recently his surgery was raided by armed robbers. They came to steal the anti-retroviral drugs that were intended for his HIV positive patients. "There's no hope for the kids here. None at all," he sighs. It is believed there are tens of thousands of addicts spreading right across South Africa and with the widespread pilferage impacting heavily on those suffering from Aids, a drug that was meant to save lives has ended up destroying them.

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