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Know your drugs


Substance Abuse in South Africa


In South Africa, the prevalence of substance abuse poses significant challenges, with drugs like Tik (Crystal Meth), Cocaine, and Heroin contributing to severe health issues. NOCCA recognizes the urgency of addressing these concerns and offers a comprehensive aftercare program to support individuals on their journey to recovery. Cannabis (Dagga) is widely used, and NOCCA's program provides tailored strategies to help individuals navigate the associated challenges. Prescription drug misuse is addressed through NOCCA's aftercare services, which also extend support to those dealing with recreational substances like MDMA and ketamine. NOCCA understands the impact of local mixtures like Nyaope and offers targeted assistance. LSD and Mandrax are acknowledged within NOCCA's framework, each requiring specialized attention. The program also addresses the severe consequences of crack cocaine abuse and the risks associated with inhalants such as glue. NOCCA's commitment extends to helping individuals cope with the unpredictable effects of synthetic cannabinoids (Spice/K2). In collaboration with NOCCA, individuals receive comprehensive support, combining education, therapy, and community engagement to address the unique challenges posed by each substance.

Methamphetamine (Tik/Crystal Meth)


A powerful stimulant, methamphetamine can lead to intense euphoria and increased energy. However, its highly addictive nature and severe physical and mental health consequences make it a significant public health concern.



Cocaine is a stimulant derived from the coca plant. It produces a short-lived but intense feeling of euphoria and increased energy. Chronic use can lead to addiction and various health issues, including cardiovascular problems.




Heroin is an opioid drug derived from morphine. It is highly addictive and can cause profound physical and psychological dependence. Heroin abuse is associated with numerous health risks, including overdose and the transmission of infectious diseases through needle-sharing.

Cannabis (Dagga)


Cannabis is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis plant. While it is less addictive than some other substances, chronic use can lead to dependence. Its psychoactive effects are primarily attributed to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Prescription Opioids (e.g. Codeine, Oxycodone)


Opioids are powerful pain-relieving medications. Misuse of prescription opioids, whether obtained legally or illegally, can lead to addiction and is a significant contributor to the opioid epidemic globally.

Prescription Benzodiazepines (e.g. Diazepam)


Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders. Prolonged use or misuse can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.

Ecstasy (MDMA)


MDMA is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. It is commonly associated with use in social settings, such as parties or music festivals. However, it poses risks such as dehydration, hyperthermia, and serotonin syndrome.



Nyaope is a local South African street drug, often a mixture of heroin, cannabis, and other substances. Its use is associated with significant health and social consequences.

LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)


LSD is a hallucinogenic drug that alters perception and mood. It is not considered physically addictive, but its use can lead to psychological dependence.

Mandrax (Methaqualone and Diphenhydramine)


​Mandrax is a sedative-hypnotic drug with addictive properties. It has been associated with abuse in various regions, including South Africa.

Crack Cocaine


A crystalline form of cocaine, crack is smoked for a rapid and intense high. It is highly addictive and associated with numerous health and social issues


(e.g. glue, paint thinner)


Inhalants are substances that produce vapors, which, when inhaled, can induce mind-altering effects. Prolonged use can lead to serious health consequences, including damage to the brain and other organs.

Synthetic Cannabinoids (Spice/K2)


Synthetic cannabinoids are chemically engineered compounds designed to mimic the effects of THC. They are sprayed onto plant material and smoked. These substances can be unpredictable and pose significant health risks.

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