Nyaope / Whoonga
South Africa’s worst drug? Street names: also known as ”Plazana or Kwape”
What is Nyaope?
Nyaope is a cocktail of dagga, heroin, Anti-retro-viral drugs, rat poison and acid.
Nyaope, also known as Whoonga, is a uniquely South African street drug that is highly addictive and destructive. Recent reports estimate more then 100 000 individuals are currently addicted to Nyaope in SA. Nyaope is a fine white powder that is usually combined with marijuana (dagga) and smoked. The fine white powder can be made up from anything from rat poison, heroin, detergent powder, anti-retro-viral drugs, milk powder, pool cleaner to bicarbonate of soda.
How is Nyaope used?
Users roll Nyaope with dagga in a zoll to smoke – because it is tough to smoke in powder form. The amount of dagga determines the strength of the zoll. It sells for about R 20 – R 30 per portion.
A person can become highly addicted after using the drug only once. A user will soon feel as if he needs several hits to make it through the day.
The newest craze is where users inject themselves with a deadly concoction laced with rat poison, antiretroviral drugs and heroin. Many of the users practice the deadly phenomenon called “Bluetooth“‚ a trend by Nyaope users who resort to sharing ‘a high by transfusion’‚ injecting the blood of an already drugged addict into another‚ using syringes. Many of these addicts develop abscesses from sharing needles. This dangerous practice lead to some addicts having arms amputated in hospitals because of septicaemia. Most of them tested positive for HIV.
What is the effect of the drug?
Once Nyaope is smoked, the user experiences intense euphoria, deep contentment and relaxation. The user feels warm when cold, calm when angry and filled when hungry. The feeling is beyond human experience and the intense effect lasts for about two – four hours. When this blissful state wears off after six to 24 hours , agonizing withdrawal symptoms set in like severe abdominal pain and back ache, sweating, chills, anxiety, restlessness, depression, nausea and diarrhea.
For some the less pleasant side effects include a painful stomach, muscle cramps and generally feeling really ill, but when these ease up, they use again.
It is the withdrawal – the unbearable stomach cramps, nausea, mood swings and aggression – that makes Nyaope so addictive. A user is terrified of having to deal with the feelings of anxiety and physical pain, so the only possible cure available is another hit, and then another one, and another one after that. Users say they have to use up to 5 bags per day to keep the withdrawal symptoms away.
Users can go days without eating – which can damage their immune systems and make them prone to other illnesses. If they eat or drink before they had a hit, they will vomit.
Because the drug is so cheap, it is a favorite among school children. In South Africa’s underdeveloped urban areas, known as townships, the drug retails for R 30. In the city center, where Nigerians dominate the drug trade and distribute the toxic concoction, it is only R 20. The situation is critical and Nyaope addiction is ravaging the townships. Children as young as 14 years old drop out of school to work for drug dealers just to get a free hit. Young girls work as prostitutes to pay for their drugs. See Lolly Lounges. It leads to increasing violence, stealing and robbery among the youth. Families live in fear of their own children because of drugs like Nyaope. There have been reports of gangs robbing HIV/AIDS clinics in Soweto to obtain Anti-retro-viral drugs for making Nyaope, as well as addicted users mugging HIV patients to obtain the Anti-retro-viral RV drugs for themselves.