5 things we know about new Wiz drug

South Africa, like many other countries around the world, is grappling with the effects of illicit drug addiction.

Since the early 90s, the country has seen a slow but steady increase in the availability and use of narcotics such as cannabis, LSD, amphetamines, Ecstasy, cocaine and heroin.

A research paper published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website shows that, currently, the primary illicit substance at admission to South African drug treatment centres were:

  • Cannabis (16.9%), Tik (12.8%)
  • Crack/cocaine (9.6%)
  • Cannabis and mandrax (3.4%)
  • Heroin/opiates (9.2%)
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medication (2.6%)

And now, a new synthetic drug known only as “Wiz” has been added to the long list and authorities are scrambling to determine its origins.

Wiz can be bought in tobacco shops and comes in attractive packaging.

Here’s what we know thus far about Wiz:

  • In late February Wiz started making the rounds Durban and schoolchildren were the primary users at the time.
  • Wiz is available in small attractive packets and is labelled as an incense, with a promise that it emits a pleasant and very relaxing smoke when burnt.
  • The drug retails from between R30 at tuck shops to R80 at tobacco shops.
  • After a pupil collapsed at a school in Merebank, Durban, authorities are convinced the drug synthetic cannabinoid.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids can be up to 100 stronger than THC and can result in severe side effects that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations.

Authorities still do not know where Wiz originates from.

However, due to our geographical location and international trade links with countries in Asia, Latin America, Western Europe and North America, it’s anyone’s guess.

REMEMBER: If you or someone you know need help with recovering from drug addiction, there are outpatient programmes offered by organisations like the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependences, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

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