Drug addicts from Philippi, Browns Farm in Cape Town are robbing residents of their Antiretrovirals (ARV) so that they can smoke.
A local newspaper Daily Sun has confirmed the development while saying the addicts claimed to have been robbing patients of their ARVs because they cannot afford expensive drugs.
âWe do not have the money to buys drugs. The people are used to steal from have lost their jobs. Thatâs why weâve opted for ARVs,â admitted one of the addicts.
According to them, street kids are prioritized when visiting the clinics.
âWe visit the clinic pretending to be sick. We know clinic staff will treat us. While we are waiting in the reception, we get to see who is there to collect the ARVs,â he said.
While the addicts are inside the clinic, the others ones wait outside.
âWe go out as soon as the patients get a dose of the drug to alert those waiting outside. They then follow them and snatch the ARV from their bags,â he said.
According to him, the ARVs are then smashed and mixed with cigarettes.
âThis is the only thing that can make us high now,â said one of the addicts.
The addict further disclosed that they usually fight when they are donât get enough ARVs.
âWeâve decided to inject the most addicted ones among us then we inject ourselves with their blood to get high,â he said.
When asked if they are not afraid of getting sick from sharing blood, he said since they are already taking ARVs they would not get sick.
âThe difference is that we donât take them with water but we smash them,â he said.
The addicts revealed that sometimes they apologize to the people they have robbed.
âWe know we are troubling them by stealing their ARVs but there is nothing we can do because we also need them,â said another addict.
He since urged young people to listen to their parents while arguing them to refrain from using drugs.
âWe are here because our parents showed us the right way, we thought we knew everything. We are here because we listened to bad friends,â he said.
Meanwhile, a resident said he hoped the addicts would get help.
âNow that the information has landed to the media, we hope they get the help they need. Itâs not too late to change their lives,â she said.
Western Cape Health Spokesperson Monique Johnstone confirms that complaints were received about patients being robbed of their ARVs after leaving the Inzame Zabantu Community Day Center in Browns Farm.
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