Nyaope addict Lucas‚ 27‚ reaches for a syringe‚ draws blood from a high friend and injects himself. “When I do not have anything and my friend has a hit‚ he injects himself and then I draw his blood and inject it in myself to get my high.”
“The cravings are so unbearable that you do not care about the risks anymore‚” said Lucas‚ of Soshanguve block X‚ north of Pretoria.
This latest vampire-like horror from South Africa’s drug world is called “Bluetooth”‚ after the technology which connects different electronic devices.
But for the addicts practising it‚ say experts‚ “Bluetooth” almost certainly means infection with potentially deadly diseases and possible death.
A tiny bag of Nyaope – also known as whoonga and whose ingredients are said to include heroin among other drugs including anti-retrovirals‚ although this is disputed — costs R30 and is enough for one person.
National department of health spokesperson‚ Joe Maila‚ said they were extremely worried as they fear the rate of HIV transmission will sky-rocket.
“The prevalence of hepatitis B is incredibly high‚ it is approaching in excess of 80% and it is not surprising with these kind of practices.
“When you share needles‚ injecting drugs‚ you increase the risk. When you actually draw blood and inject it‚ you guarantee the infection‚” Sonderup said.
Several addicts like Lucas hang out on the periphery and dark alleys around Mabopane station.
They confirmed the blood transfusion method and even offered to prove it if we bought them a hit. We didn’t buy them drugs. Later in the evening The Times tracked down Nyaope addicts outside a spaza shop in Soshanguve Block X. The duo had one hit and offered to demonstrate how they shared the drug through “Bluetooth“. We were allowed to take pictures on condition we did not write their names or showed their faces.
One of them opened the drug‚ wrapped in a brown plastic‚ and mixed it with water before drawing it with a syringe‚ using his lips. He then handed the syringe over to his friend to inject him. The friend emptied the syringe and‚ as the receiver staggered with the kick of the drug‚ his friend grabbed him‚ drew his blood with the same syringe and injected himself.