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Johannesburg - The non-classification of nyaope as an illegal drug is undermining efforts to fight the war against crime, Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said on Wednesday.
“Addicts often become involved in crime and prostitution in order to get their next hit. It also heightens sexual desires, which is thought to be behind the rise in rape cases in the townships,” she said in a statement.
She said users often led disorganised lives, and lied, terrorised their families and stole just to get the drug.
“If nothing is done, we will be defiling the fundamental principles of safe environments for all,” said Mayathula-Khoza.
She said the classification of nyaope as an illegal drug would inevitably result in the dismantling of the crimes associated with the substance.
“This would help lessen the financial load of drug treatment and would be able to redirect these funds into more important priorities, such as improving education and awareness, which has been found to be strongly linked to the reduction of crime rates.”
According to police figures, 60 percent of crimes nationally were related to substance abuse and nyaope users constituted a substantial number of abusers.
“Last year in Gauteng alone, 25,949 drug-related crimes were recorded and nyaope users are typically between the ages of 13 and 19.”
She said prosecutors struggled to prosecute on nyaope as it was not classified as a drug. It presented a unique challenge to law enforcement in that it was a concoction of mostly “legal” substances and thus made prosecution difficult.
Nyaope, a powder-like substance is a mixture of rat poison, heroin and anti-retroviral medications, among others.