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‘Effects of ARVs in whoonga are worse than heroin’

ARVs are known to be an active ingredient in the drug called whoonga - a mix of herion, cocaine & dagga.

A display of narcotics by the Saps at the Eersterust Presidential Imbizo, Friday 21 August 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Following government intervention aimed at stamping out drug and substance abuse in the Eersterust community in Pretoria, police have warned of the effects of using antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in whoonga saying the effects are worse than heroin.

The police coordinated an exhibition on drug abuse at the presidential imbizo today to help explain to parents how the drugs are made and what effects the HIV medication has.

ARVs are known to be an active ingredient in the drug called whoonga, which is a mixture of herion, cocaine, and dagga.

WATCH: Eersterust residents beg Zuma to 'give them hope'

The police's drug expert Hermanus van der Berg says drugs with ARVs have also been proven to be more addictive.

"If you use normal heroin you can go a maybe day, a day and a half without using it. But with the ARVs within four to eight hours, you have to be injected. Otherwise you start convulsing and [you get] stomach cramps so [severe] that you start bleeding through your mouth, ears and eyes, because it breaks down your veins."

Earlier, concerned Eersterust residents in told President Jacob Zuma their community was in a crisis and insisted no one was safe from the effects of drug abuse.

The local action committee estimates about 15,000 people are hooked on some form of drugs.

A member of the concerned residents group, Josina Teller, said the community is in crisis.

"The children who are on drugs are abusing the parents and the grandparents; Mr President the pension that you pay out monthly goes into the pockets of the drug dealers and doesn't go to the pockets of the old people."

The president promised residents that all three spheres of government would intervene to stabilise the community.

Zuma said he was shocked by the high number of drug abusers in the community.

"That is a serious matter, that number is too big, this was shocking to me. Behind that group of drug abusers is a group of a growing number of drug lords."

He said after this imbizo a series of programs would be rolled out by different departments to arrest the situation.

COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

The community of Eersterust asked Zuma to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the supply and demand for drugs in the Pretoria community and to protect the elderly against violent addicts.

Member of the Eersterust drug action committee Desiree Fisher says the community does not know how many drug lords are operating in the area, but they know the demand for drugs continues to grow.

"We need a tactical [South African Police Services] Saps task team here in Eersterust."

Teller says drug addicts are also targeting the elderly who rely on pension money to survive.

"They beat them up, some even get raped, because they don't want to give them the money. It's a sad story in Eersterust."

The parents also warned that children with single parents are not safe, because after school facilities are too expensive, and drug dealers know how to manipulate them when they're home alone.

Pictures: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

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