Nyaope / Whoonga Dependence

Nyaope / Whoonga

South Africa’s worst drug? Street names: also known as ”Plazana or Kwape”

What is Nyaope?

Nyaope is a cocktail of  marijuana (dagga), & Black tar heroin and it can also contain Anti-retro-viral drugs, rat poison, Meth,  pool acid, detergent powder and even powder from the glass of flat screen television sets. It is usually smoked.

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.

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 Johannesburg city center, where Nigerians dominate the drug trade and distribute the toxic concoction, the cost is only R 20. The situation is critical and Nyaope addiction is ravaging the townships. Children as young as 9 years old drop out of school to work for drug dealers just to get a free hit.  The drugs effect their brains so badly to an extent they cannot concentrate. 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.

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. First time users often think it is only marijuana they are smoking and are unaware of the dangerous addictive chemicals the zoll contains.

There is also a craze among Nyaope users called Bluetooth where addicts share a Nayope hit. One addict will inject himself with Nyaope  and then draw some of his blood and give it to another addict who then injects himself with it.  It is a dangerous game that cause not only horrible abscesses at injection sites, but also transfers the HIV virus between addicts. Abscesses can lead to limb amputations.

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 2 – 4 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.

Source:   www.elimclin.co.za/…/sorika_de_swardt

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. 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.

Withdrawal from Nyaope / Whoonga

It is the withdrawal – the unbearable stomach cramps, nausea, mood swings and aggression – that makes Nyaope so addictive. The heroin in Nyaope is an opiod, and opiod’s give way to severe withdrawal symptoms.  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.

Early symptoms

Watery eyes
Muscle aches

Late symptoms

Abdominal cramping
Dilated pupils

Vomiting and diarrhea could lead to dehydration and other body disturbances. Aspiration is a risk  – it happens when a person who is semi-conscious or confused breaths vomit into their lungs. Aspiration of solid material may cause immediate asphyxia and death; smaller particles may cause collapse of a lung, lobe or segment; particulate material may lead to a sub-acute inflammatory reaction in the lungs. Massive pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents carries a very high mortality rate – 62%.

If aspiration of vomit is suspected, the patient should be tilted head down and preferably placed on the right side. The right lung is more often affected because of the configuration of the main bronchi; this position will, therefore, tend to localise aspiration to the right side while the upper airway is being cleared and the patient is being oxygenated. Mortality is lower when aspiration is confined to one lobe, than if it is more widespread through the lungs.

Source:  Immediate care after aspiration of vomit

Drug detection times

Please use these figures as a guide only:

Alcohol: 3-5 days in urine, 10-12 hours in blood
Amphetamines: 1-3 days in urine and around 12 hours in blood
Barbiturates: 2-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Benzodiazepines: 3-6 weeks in urine and 2-3 days in blood
Cannabis: 7-30 days in urine and up to 2 weeks in blood
Cocaine: 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Codeine: 1 day in urine and up to 12 hours in blood
Heroin: 3-4 days in urine and up to 12 hours in blood
LSD: 1-3 days in urine and up to 2-3 hours in blood
MDMA (ecstasy): 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Methamphetamine (crystal meth): 3-6 days in urine and 24 – 72 hours in blood
Methadone: 3-4 days in urine and 24-36 hours in blood
Morphine: 2-3 days in urine and 6-8 hours in blood

Get Help

Rehabilitation from Nyaope addiction requires medical intervention as well as group therapy. Medical supervision and medication is necessary to ease withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from substance abuse is a medical emergency. You need to seek help at the emergency section of your nearest hospital if you go into withdrawal. Quitting is not easy. You will need help to heal from Nyaope addiction.

Call for help

1. Cell phone emergency – 112

2. Ambulance response – 10177


If you have more questions about Nyaope, you can chat to an online facilitator on LIVE CHAT. It is atext-based chat and you may remain anonymous.



You can also do a self-test quiz on addiction – Substance abuse quiz.


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