We all know that the town of Ballito is being overtaken by kat, better known as “the poor man’s cocaine”, but now there’s a new and very dangerous method of drug-taking that’s sprung up in the slums of Johannesburg.
“Bluetoothing”, which sees a person withdrawing blood after a hit and injecting it into a second person, is the latest craze that’s fast becoming widespread, a report by Sky News explained.
I know, it sounds absolutely ludicrous that people would actually do this.
But for users, they’ll do anything to get their next fix:
Addicts are taking nyaope (pronounced un-yop-pay), a cocktail of heroin, antiretroviral drugs and even crushed glass and rat poison, by injecting it, pulling blood back out, and taking it themselves.
They head to the dump [as pictured below] when the sun comes up and talk about their aching joints, the vomiting and the way their stomachs buckle and cramp.
If they have the money for a fix, they will buy a wax paper packet from one of the dealers and sprinkle its contents into a marijuana cigarette – or simply find a place else to inject it.
Frightening, but it’s spine-chilling to see all this unfolding before your own eyes.
In the report, correspondent John Sparks – who has witnessed ‘bluetoothing’ up close – reported how he “watched a group of zombie-like figures involuntarily sway and stagger around this pockmarked place on the edge of Johannesburg” while they’re high.
Brrr, that’s The Walking Dead levels of scary.
How bad is the use of nyaope in these townships? Mary Mashapa, a social worker deployed by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), said that one person in every five in this community uses nyaope, and that they will try anything to get a fix despite the risks:
It is very addictive. It is very, very addictive, I must say. They are chasing the very same high they got the first time and they can never get to that.
Exchanging blood without screening it, without knowing whether people are carrying disease – it’s just not safe.
But that’s not about to deter addicts from ‘bluetoothing’ so that they can reclaim that “very same high”. Thabo, a former debt collector, showed Sparks how it’s done:
Thabo inserted nyaope into the vein of his friend Bennet, then immediately withdrew a small amount of his friend’s blood which he re-injected into his arm. “I’ve just bluetoothed, eh,” said Thabo with a look of relief on his face.
“I gave my friend a hit and took one from his blood, you know, shack in “extension one”.
When asked about the risks including the possibility of contracting HIV through sharing needles, Thabo simply replied: “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
A very bleak statement, and one that shows how entrenched this drug culture is in these areas.
Meanwhile, researchers in South Africa believe that ‘bluetoothing’ is pointless because once nyaope is diffused into the bloodstream it loses its potency, meaning the ability to get high isn’t happening.
Then again, the government’s Central Drug Authority, which is in charge of combatting substance abuse across the country, has very little to say on the matter, since their researchers do not have any information on nyaope, nyaope users – or ‘bluetooth’.
Not very helpful at all.
Again, guys, proceed with caution. It’s a dangerous road to go down.
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