The battle for nyaope addicts seems to be a never ending one. Two nyaope victims Mpho Bapela and Simon Tloubatla, from Lebowakgomo spoke to Sekhukhune Times about their everyday realities as they fight drug addiction and the lack of job opportunities in the township.

The two agreed that nyaope uses them. “This drug uses us; we are just trying to make end meets. We heard that there might be methadone somewhere but we have not tried to check for ourselves,”

“There are no job opportunities here, if they could try to  open firms or anything that would provide us with jobs, things could be better, our priority is getting jobs,” said Mpho.

He said their life was hard “it is very hard, we also do not like the way we are living but you end up being used to living this way,” Mpho said they collected recyclable material to earn some money.

Speaking of package they were pushing they said: “this package we have here can give us anything from R20-30, it is not so much money, we walk in the sun all day, it is hard to do it  but the money we get for it is very little,” they explained.

They worked together for two years now. “We are not  afraid of being run over by cars as they have been enslaved by nyaope. We do not care about being run over by cars,” they emphasised their position.

Mpho and Simon said a drug called methadone helped them to cope with their craving for drugs.

“You get cured with methadone; you do not crave drugs, so stopping nyaope with methadone is easier. The difficult part is that you have to get it at a chemist and you have to buy it with a prescription. I am not sure about the hospital; I have never heard a person say they got it for free in the hospital,” explained Simon.

One of the nyaope activists who seem to know better than Mpho and Simon said methadone was as substitute drug that should be not taken as a cure.

“There are control measures on how to use methadone. It was designed to decrease the intake of nyaope, so taking it is substituting nyaope with a lesser drug that does not have a strong dosage,” he explained.

He said it was not easy to get hold of methadone as it was also an addictive drug and very expensive one.  

“They are very strict about it, because you can stop taking nyaope but then be addicted to the methadone. There are serious control measures as to how to prescribe it. A dosage of it is approximately R800 so it is quite expensive. Methadone is not an answer. It needs proper discipline and guidance from medical practitioners or counsellors. I would not advise anyone to take it by themselves as they might get addicted on it,” victim explained.

Health practitioner, Joyce Mahlokwane said methadone was not a cure but a drug used to take away the cravings however it can be addictive as the otherone, saying if someone is using methadone whilst taking nyaope, it would be effective, the person end up taking overdose of nyaope.

Addicts willing to stop using should consider counselling and other ways of coping.


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