WATCH: Inside an open-air heroin camp

2019-04-25 17:56
Users shoot up at a safe injection facility in Vancouver.  (Getty Images)

Users shoot up at a safe injection facility in Vancouver. (Getty Images)

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In a corner of Philadelphia known locally as the Badlands some of the purest heroin in the country can be bought for just $5 a bag.

The half-mile stretch of rail track has become a refuge for hundreds of heroin addicts.

For more than 20 years homeless people and drug users have sought refuge in this gulch where about 70 people live along the tracks and up to 200 pass through every day to shoot up.

As nightmarish as it feels, users say it's a safe place, away from the police and the rest of the public, where people look out for each other and outreach workers visit regularly.

MORE:

Heroin use is booming rapidly in SA and rogue cops are partly to blame - report

A widespread and lucrative local heroin market has expanded across South Africa, facilitated by gangs, organised crime and incompetent or corrupt police, according to a report by ENACT.


Get help: The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), together with the Department of Social Development, launched a toll-free helpline for substance abuse. The number is 0800 12 13 14 and a 24-hour helpline is available from Monday to Sunday.

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