Black youth bear brunt of drug cocktail - Al Jazeera English

Black youth bear brunt of drug cocktail

Young men and women are hooked to third-grade heroin mixed with rat poison, detergents and HIV/AIDS medicine.

Ihsaan Haffejee | | Health, Africa, South Africa, Drugs

Johannesburg, South Africa - A toxic blend of cheap third-grade heroin mixed with rat poison, cleaning detergents and anti-retro viral AIDS medicine results in the highly addictive substance called nyaope. It is a street drug that has been at the forefront of the destruction of much of the black youth in South Africa’s impoverished area’s for a few years now.

In South Africa’s largest city Johannesburg, large groups of homeless youth gather under a highway bridge at the edge of the city and abuse the drug.

At R25 ($2.50), the price for a small package of nyaope in the inner city is slightly cheaper than in the outlying townships where the drug sells for R30 ($3). The price difference attracts many young addicts to the city even if it means running away from home and living on the streets, such is the addictive qualities of the drug.

Hundreds of Johannesburg’s homeless and destitute can be found living under the highway bridge that runs through the city. Strangled by poverty and marginalised by society, they utilise the underside of the highway bridge as a shelter against the unforgiving elements.

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