New research shows South Africans have deflated sense of the country’s Nyaope problem, as experts warn generalising the drug could make more South Africans more tempted to try it. A survey of 6,700 people revealed only one in ten respondents had an accurate idea of the drug’s prevalence.The release of the survey coincided with South African Police Service describing Nyaope as the worst drug scourge South Africa had ever faced.South African Police Service announced more money to tackle the problem and to help it track drug syndicates. “Nyaope is the worst drug scourge South Africa has faced,” police service said.”Over the years we’ve faced a wave of illegal drugs, different illegal drugs, but this latest wave is the worst.”The South African Police Service is not the only one who has used strong language about the country’s drug problem, and according to drug researchers, it may be making matters worse.According to a drug prevention expert who did not want to be named in my blog post, only one in ten respondents had an accurate picture of the problem. “Almost half of those who responded believed that between 30 and 70 per cent of South Africans had tried Nyaope in their lifetime, and of course this is very far beyond the actual figure which is 13 per cent,” he said. He said those misconceptions might be making the drug more attractive to people who are thinking of trying it. “We know that when drug use is seen to be generalised, it means that people are more likely to try it and to use it,” he said. “So it’s important that we do have a counterpoint to that and say that it is actually 13 per cent.”There were also surprising findings about the profile of cocaine and heroin users, with the majority of users either middle or high income earners. “So they weren’t sort of completely dysfunctional people living in someone’s caravan in the backyard, they were mainstream South Africans,” the researcher told your blogger. One such mainstream South Africa is Philemon, who did not want his real name to be used. “It makes me feel really good firstly, and makes me feel really alert and attentive,” he said. He takes cocaine twice or thrice a week, usually on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and holds down a job that pays more than $90,000 a year.”I don’t feel like it affects my performance the next day, whether it’s work or social, I can carry on functioning quite normally,” Philemon who lives in Johannesburg said. “You see some of these ads on TV and it portrays us as being all cranky and aggressive. I don’t feel that way at all.”
The research told me that the prevalence of cocaine use among middle to high income South Africans was proof that anyone could end up using the drug, and therefore be at risk of addiction.“Cocaine, Nyaope use or ice addiction can happen to anyone, no family or person is immune from the temptation,” he said. “When we look at the reasons why people use, why they try, it’s because their friends are using, because they want to party harder, or because they’re just curious, and these are very common reasons for people to engage in all kinds of behaviours.”It’s not going to be some very strange person that offers you these kinds of drugs, it’s going to be your friends.” A South African friend based in Johannesburg also told me the use of drugs is also putting pressure in this country. She said that there is a street manufactures drug that is destroying the lives of many especially kids and the youth. According to her, Nyaope is presented as fine white powder that is mixed with marijuana. This powder ranges from milk powder, ARVs ( ante- retro-viral drugs), detergent powder, bio-carbonate of soda, pool cleaner etc. Ingredients of this drug are not standard. It depends on the manufacturer on what to add. It is a very highly addictive that it’s a said you only have to smoke it once and you are honked. Once smoked the smoker feels relaxation and euphoria, but this feeling lasts for an hour or 2. The health sector is also experiencing problems because of this not just because of users of the drug but also because the ARV supply to HIV patients is affected, she added. Another issue is that millions of money is spent on buying ARVS that get stolen when pharmacies are broken into. It is mostly used by the poor and homeless. During South Africa’s winter season, it helps them to keep warm. A dose of Nyaope goes for around $2, but can be more depending on how big the dose is. Ke mathata morwa Harrison, meaning it’s a huge problem son of Harrison, she concluded.