Nyaope consuming SA youth

Nyaope has consumed youths from Duduza township on Gauteng's East Rand, leaving many of them addicted and desperate. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN
DUDUZA - A group of youth in Duduza have told Eyewitness News how the drug Nyaope is consuming them and their community.

The East Rand community is ridden with drugs and a group of youth are pleading for help to quit.

Nyaope is a cocktail that includes heroin and marijuana and sometimes anti-retroviral medication mixed with rat poison.

An 18-year-old man who is a member of the gang, Alaska Boys, says he spends everyday smoking Nyaope, but wishes to quit.

“I want to stop, but we can’t.”

One of the other men said they know the drug's ingredients is dangerous, but the withdrawal symptoms are simply too much to handle.

“We are scared because we don’t know how to quit this thing.”

The group of eight men gather everyday at a park in Duduza where they smoke the drug in plain sight of residents and small children.

One of them said more girls were starting to use the drug and sometime offered sex in exchange for it.

Meanwhile, the mother of a Nyaope addict said the drug had destroyed her son’s life and her family.

Baile Tlagae said she first suspected her 21-year-old-son of being addicted to nyaope when money started disappearing from her home.

“When he comes in the house he’s angry, doing funny things and stealing money.”

The drug costs R35 a bag, but users in Duduza say they smoke up to five bags a day to avoid stomach cramps.

Tlagae said she did not know how to help her son kick the habit because she is unemployed and can't afford to take him to a rehabilitation centre.

“He knows I’m not working, he’s father is not working and that we are suffering here at home. We’ve got a child support grant for only one child.”

Last week the Justice Department announced it is in the process of declaring the drug illegal.

The drug originated in 2006 in the Pretoria townships of Soshanguve, Atteridgeville and Mamelodi.