Al Jazeera exposes Zim ARV black market

2014-11-19 19:30

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In the latest episode of Al Jazeera’s Africa Investigates series health reporter Cassim John goes undercover on the streets of Zimbabwe to unveil the rampant trade of Antiretrovirals on the black market.

The illegal sale and recreational use of ARVs across Africa is reaching critical levels.

Those with access to the drugs stop taking them during hard times; dispensaries benefit illegally from under-the-counter trading; groups fight to control the trade zones and for those that desperately need them to survive the availability of the already under-resourced pharmaceutical becomes harder and harder to acquire.

Cassim goes undercover to discover doctors who tell him how easy it is to fake patient records and steal drugs from the Zimbabwean healthcare system. He goes on to expose these corrupt doctors on the show.

The drugs are crushed and smoked to create a delusional high resulting in hallucinogenic episodes that are reportedly comparable to an LSD trip.

The ARVs are often mixed with enhancers like mandrax and marijuana, creating a more intense sensation that reportedly lasts longer.

Sustained use of these drug cocktails is potentially fatal aside from the long-term physical and mental health side effects.

Drug users illustrate on the show exactly how they use them and how simple they are to come by.

They explain how cheap the drugs are and, in the face of Zimbabwe’s nearly 85% unemployment rate, they satisfy an affordable means to escape the harsh reality of a life in the streets of Harare.

Zimbabwe: Stealing Lives, the second episode of Africa Investigates, premieres on Al Jazeera (DSTV channel 406) on Wednesday (November 19 2014) at 22:30 GMT / Thursday (November 20) at 00:30 CAT.

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