Today's Big Stories

The Nyaope debate

Nyaope is a health matter, not a criminal matter

Yesterday, Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria, Jannie Hugo suggested that the drug Nyaope should be legalised. Professor Hugo says that by legalising the drug, it will remove it as a currency for crime, and make the drug addiction manageable. He is on the radio to explain why Nyaope should be taxed and treated with the same priority as HIV.

Nyaope (which contains heroin, dagga, ARVs and rat poison) has been notoriously plaguing communities, as youth increasingly become addicts.

(read related article on this issue)

Speaking to John this morning, Hugo says:

We want to change the game from a fighting crime game to a caring game. Drug addiction is s very serious public health problem. This needs to be made a priority in primary health care and community-orientated care. To be able to do that properly, we need to have access to medicines to assist people get off Nyaope.

Dr Jannie Hugo, Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria

Legalising Nyaope might make the problem worse

John also spoke to Cathy Chambers of the South African Depression & Anxiety Group, who said that she believes the ramifications of legalising Nyaope far outweighs any perceived benefits, particularly with regards to the devastating effects it has on the addicts and their families.

Chambers explained that addiction needs to be dealt with and that South Africa doesn't have the capacity to regulate Nyaope. She says that we need more treatment centers and that the addicts need to be put in hospitals for treatment and not jail.

We get hundreds of calls to the call center every week, from seeing how Nyaope is destroying peoples' lives and families. We are fearful of what would happen if Nyaope was legalised - people might have more access, might start using and becoming addicted. Then they would go for treatment but find that there is no treatment available for them.

Cathy Chambers, South African Depression & Anxiety Group

Listen to the full debate below:

Some Twitter reaction:

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