Son wiped out by whoonga

2016-09-26 09:32
Pietermaritzburg has seen an alarming growth of whoonga addicts and police said they will focus on whoonga users to decrease crime in the city.

Pietermaritzburg has seen an alarming growth of whoonga addicts and police said they will focus on whoonga users to decrease crime in the city. (File)

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From straight-A pupil and deputy head boy at his school to drug addict and thief.

This was the fast downfall of a local teen who became hooked on the easily accessible drug whoonga.

The boy’s family want to warn drug dealers that “the money they use to feed their children, is killing our children”.

Whoonga is made from detergent powder, rat poison and antiretroviral drugs. The drug is mixed with dagga and smoked.

A Pietermaritzburg man, who would not be named to protect his son’s identity, said the drug had turned the boy into an aggressive youngster who stole anything valuable to feed his addiction.

Now 19, the youngster has been admitted to a rehabilitation centre for the third time.

“It started when he was 14 and he started smoking dagga. As soon as we caught him smoking in our house, we took him to Sanca [South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence],” he said.

But the then high school pupil was back on the drug after four months, and, two years later, was found taking whoonga.

“At first we noticed money missing from our purses and pockets. Then we noticed his own belongings, like his DVD player and clothes, started going missing and we knew he was selling them to buy drugs,” the man said.

He said the teen once stole his grandparents’ grant card and withdrew more than R500 to buy the drug. The teen also stole his mother’s wedding ring and other jewellery.

Desperate to get him away from the drug suppliers, the family eventually charged their son with theft at Mountain Rise police station.

“If he didn’t take the drug, he would be violent and aggressive. When he eventually got his fix, he would be calm, but his words made no sense at all,” the man said.

On a number of occasions the teenager disappeared for days on end into a nearby informal settlement, forcing his mother to go in search of him, pleading with strangers to tell her where he was. She would find him in a stupor in a mud house, smoking whoonga with other boys.

The situation their family find themselves in is “shattering”, and their greatest fear is the easy availability of the drug in the city.

“We are optimistic now that he has spent a week at another rehabilitation centre and has shown progress. But we don’t know how we are going to keep him away from all these dealers that are on every corner,” the man said.

He urged other parents in a similar predicament to speak up about their situation, and stand by their children and continuously offer them help, “even when they don’t want it”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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