News / South Africa

Nhlawulo Chauke
2 minute read
8 Mar 2017
6:16 am

‘Bluetooth’ nyaope addicts accuse rehab centre of ill-treatment

Nhlawulo Chauke

The addicts claimed they were given medication without access to consulting a doctor, were forced to sleep on the floor and were only fed twice a day.

An anonymous Nyaope addict is seen rolling a marijuana joint laced with the white Nyaope powder, 7 March 2017, in Soshanguve, where 250 Nyaope addict had left the rehab they were taken to due to the apparent lack of resources. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Two hundred and twenty-nine “bluetooth” drug users – who volunteered for rehabilitation after the Gauteng department of social development (GDSD) took on a “hotspot” approach and visited places of substance abuse in Mabopane and Soshanguve, Tshwane – have all discharged themselves from a rehabilitation centre due to alleged “ill treatment”.

Nyaope is a cocktail of dagga, heroin, anti-retroviral drugs, rat poison and acid, and is smoked and injected.

It is sometimes “bloothoothed” (when blood is drawn from a user, who is already high and reinjected into another person to share the high).

The “bluetooth” users were sent to the Dr Fabian and Florence Rebeiro Treatment Centre in Zonderwater, Cullinan, and were part of 581 people admitted.

On Tuesday, 23 users who dismissed themselves from the rehabilitation centre claimed they had been given medication without access to consulting a doctor, were forced to sleep on the floor and only fed bread twice a day.

The deadly “bluetooth” method has already claimed 17 lives in the Tshwane region alone.

Thabo Mokwena, an addict, said they had been forced to sleep on the floor, without mattresses or electricity.

Peter Mahlangu said the toilets were not in working order.

The addicts also complained that they were not given any counselling and only dumped there.

GDSD spokesperson Mbangwa Xaba dismissed the claims, spread on social media, as malicious.

About 250 service users volunteered for treatment and a further 131 brought themselves to the centre for admission, bringing the total admission on that day to 381.

“This comes at huge cost to the [health] department, which is already spending about R11 000 on each patient.

“Its capacity was stretched beyond the limit,” Xaba added.

Xaba said those in need of medical treatment were referred to Bronkhorstspruit and Mamelodi hospitals.

He said they currently have 130 drug users at the centre, all of whom have been allocated social workers and they have commenced with group sessions.

He said the department is content with their progress thus far.

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