South African drug users stealing AIDS treatments

STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images To get high, some South African drug addicts have reached a new low. Durban’s provincial health department recently reported an alarming level of thefts of Stocrin, an antiretroviral drug treatment used to treat AIDS. Drug users reportedly crush the Stocrin with marijuana to get an extra-potent yet extra-dangerous high. The mixture breaks ...

594260_080703_aidsdrugs5.jpg
594260_080703_aidsdrugs5.jpg

STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images

To get high, some South African drug addicts have reached a new low.

Durban's provincial health department recently reported an alarming level of thefts of Stocrin, an antiretroviral drug treatment used to treat AIDS. Drug users reportedly crush the Stocrin with marijuana to get an extra-potent yet extra-dangerous high. The mixture breaks down the body's immune system "and eventually leads to death," according to Anwar Jeera, the head of a South African rehabilitation centre. But the ones most hurt by the thefts are of course South Africa's AIDS patients, many of whom have been ambushed by drug thieves on their way home from the hospital. In a country where five and a half million people suffer from AIDS, a crime-induced shortage of the life-saving antiretroviral treatments -- which 478,000 South Africans are registered to use -- is very bad news indeed.

STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images

To get high, some South African drug addicts have reached a new low.

Durban’s provincial health department recently reported an alarming level of thefts of Stocrin, an antiretroviral drug treatment used to treat AIDS. Drug users reportedly crush the Stocrin with marijuana to get an extra-potent yet extra-dangerous high. The mixture breaks down the body’s immune system “and eventually leads to death,” according to Anwar Jeera, the head of a South African rehabilitation centre. But the ones most hurt by the thefts are of course South Africa’s AIDS patients, many of whom have been ambushed by drug thieves on their way home from the hospital. In a country where five and a half million people suffer from AIDS, a crime-induced shortage of the life-saving antiretroviral treatments — which 478,000 South Africans are registered to use — is very bad news indeed.

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