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Signs and symptoms of the use of Nyaope

Nyaope is a street drug that can go by different names depending on the areas it is sold in, such as being called “Nyaope” in Pretoria, “Sugars” in Durban (KZN), “Ungah” in the Western Cape and “Pinch” in Mpumalanga.

Cheap and highly addictive, it typically contains a mixture of substances such as marijuana, low-grade heroin, cocaine, and other additives like rat poison and antiretrovirals, which are used to treat HIV.

Because nyaope is highly addictive it has a poor rate of recovery, and some users report feeling heavy cravings even on the first day of use.

It is also dangerous, because it reduces both heart and lung function.

In overdose, heart and lung function reduction can become fatal.

Withdrawal symptoms reportedly involve both craving and pain, which are temporarily relieved by fresh doses of the drug.

The effects of nyaope include:

  • Severe body aches, shivering, anxiety, insomnia, glazed eyes, hot and cold flushes
  • The low-grade heroin used means one can get toxic side effects such as skin diseases, frequent infections and lowered immunity.
  • Because nyaope is smoked with dagga, the user becomes addicted to dagga as well.
  • Dagga can have side effects such as hallucinations, paranoia, flashbacks, changes in eating habits, weight loss, and restlessness
  • Nyaope users usually begin to neglect their school work, or their jobs, and may eventually quit work or school altogether.
  • Users need for extra money to pay for the drugs also increases, and this often leads to criminal behaviour when they no longer have legal access to money.
  • Because nyaope is so addictive, addicts may become violent when they are unable to access the drug, and may commit violent crimes even against family members or friends in order to get money.

The best way to prevent addiction to nyaope or any other addictive substance is to not use them even once.

Also read: You can use dagga at home, rules the WC High Court

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse or addiction:

Behavioural changes, such as:

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities).
  • Using substances in dangerous situations such as while driving or operating a machine.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviour.
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
  • Changes in personality or attitude.
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.
  • Lacking of motivation.
  • Appearing fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason.

Physical changes, such as:

  • Bloodshot eyes and abnormally sized pupils.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.

Social changes, such as:

  • Sudden change in friends, favourite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Legal problems related to substance use.
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems.
  • Using substances even though it causes problems in relationships.

If you or someone you know suffers from substance abuse or addiction problems, please contact The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse on 086 14 72622, or seek the help of a licensed medical practitioner.


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