Gauteng Premier Overwhelmed by Scale of Nyaope Addiction as 50 000 Seek State Help
Premer Panyaza Lesufi last week said he wanted to fix Gauteng’s drug abuse problems but wasn’t expecting the response from concerned parents seeking help for their children. The provincial government has a rehab programme to cater for 5 000 substance abusers, not the 50 000 that require help.
19 October 2022 at 08:00:00
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi says nyaope addiction has become a major youth problem in the province and that he has been overwhelmed by the number of parents seeking help for their children.
Lesufi told Yoliswa Sobuwa of City Press in an exclusive interview on 18 October 2022 that over 50 000 parents had contacted his office in the last week after he promised to fix Gauteng’s drug problem. They were predominantly concerned about Nyaope use.
Nayope is a street drug which is a mixture of low grade heroin, cannabis products, antiretroviral drugs and other materials added as cutting agents.
Last week the new premier said that nyaope addicts were going to be taken to a farm owned by the state for six months. There they would undergo a rehabilitation program.
Lesufi told City Press said they had only planned to cater for between 3 000 and 5 000 nyaope addicts but the number had climbed to 50 000.
He said: “I knew this was a problem but I didn’t think we would get this number. It's massive and my phone doesn’t stop ringing. However, I am glad that people are calling and I am crossing my fingers that this will help them.
Lesufi said he suspected that there were parents from other provinces as well. He said the first intake will happen on 1 November 2022.
Some non-profit organisations (NPOs) and recovering nyaope addicts welcomed the initiative and said that they were available to assist the premier’s office.
Sithembile Sipho Simelane who runs Siyabonga Initiative told City Press he was running substance abuse programmes in 15 wards in Tshwane.
He said: We have also decided to compile data for Lesufi’s program and so far we have about 400 nyaope addicts who are willing to change their lives for the better.
We have assisted a number of young people not only addicted to smoking nyaope, but also crystal meth which is consumed by the hip hop and amapiano generation.
"For example, in the past three months we have assisted about 300 addicts between the ages of 12 and 38,” he said.
He said they assist recovering addicts with aftercare programs where they are given artisinal training, like plumbing and brick-laying.
“We are embracing Lesufi’s initiatives because we know these people and we are aware of how drugs are killing the youth in our communities,” he said.
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