Nyaope- South Africa’s hidden pandemic.

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Nyaope- South Africa’s hidden pandemic.

11 August, 2021Articles, News

Nyaope continues to embed itself in our cities and low-income communities. There are many misconceptions regarding it- what is it? Where did it come from? How is it used? What are the effects? As a result, there are many myths about the drug and it is difficult to find accurate information, as few formal studies have been done on it.

Nyaope has been around for a long time, and has gone by many names depending on where you are in the country -sugars, whoonga, pinch or nyaope are most commonly used but basically, they all refer to a low-grade heroin, cut with other ingredients to bulk up the heroin- a process that would be similar to watering down alcohol. Common additives are- baking soda, sucrose, baby powder, laundry detergent and sometimes rat poison (strychnine). In this way, dealers are able to stretch the heroin, making it very cheap, which is why it has become such a problem in the low-income communities.

Nyaope can be smoked with marijuana or it can be freebased on its own. It can also be diluted and used intravenously. Most users start off smoking it and generally graduate to intravenous usage. This is because addicts build up a tolerance to the drug and in order to get the same effect they experienced in the beginning, they begin to inject rather than smoke nyaope. Injecting nyaope results in a more intense ‘high’, but tolerance continues to build and the potential for overdose becomes a reality.

Nyaope is physically addictive and withdrawal can be painful and physically uncomfortable. Some of the symptoms include;

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps and pain
  • Body cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Cold sweats
  • Fever
  • Runny nose

The fear of withdrawal symptoms causes an intense craving for heroin, resulting in the user doing whatever it takes to avoid the side-effects. When detoxing from nyaope it is important to note that a medical assistance is recommended. Stopping “cold turkey” could result is serious negative consequences to your physical health.

Communities are being held hostage by the nyaope epidemic. The youth gripped by an addiction to nyaope, resort to crime and prostitution ensuring they are able to get their next high. What started for many young adults as experimentation and a method of escaping their socio-economic circumstances, has become a full-blown addiction. A generation of youth, fearful of getting help due to their apprehension surrounding withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one need assistance with an addiction to nyaope – know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it is a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex,  gambling,  substances,  alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.


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