Getting High on HIV Drugs in S Africa

via BBC

Anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV/Aids are being bought and smoked by teenagers in South Africa to get high.

Reports suggest that the drugs are being sold by patients and even healthcare staff for money. _45272658_aidsdrugs226x170

Schoolchildren have been spotted smoking the drugs, which are ground into powder and sometimes mixed with painkillers or marijuana.

Aids patients themselves have been found smoking the drugs instead of taking them as prescribed.

Anti-retrovirals are used to boost the immune system of people with HIV and to suppress the virus in the blood.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked at first, these were school boys in their school uniforms,” documentary-maker Tooli Nhlapo told the BBC World Service’s Outlook programme.

“They take a pill and grind it, until it is a powder. Some also mix it with painkillers and others mix it with marijuana,” said Ms Nhlapo. “They showed me how they roll it and smoke it.” _45272677_hash226x170

Hallucinogenic

When the South African Broadcasting Corporation documentary-maker first investigated the story, she was told to wait until school finished, so she could actually see how young some of the users were.

“I thought I was going to go to a tavern and see older drug addicts doing this, but I was shocked when I saw school children,” she said. Continue reading