Aids drugs stolen to mixwith daggafor weird high

Criminals are stealing Aids patients' life-saving anti-retroviral medicines (ARVs) and smoking them mixed with dagga for "a better high", a hospital said yesterday.

Criminals are stealing Aids patients' life-saving anti-retroviral medicines (ARVs) and smoking them mixed with dagga for "a better high", a hospital said yesterday.

St Mary's Hospital, in Durban, said patients and staff have reported that anti-retrovirals are being stolen by dagga smokers.

Hospital chief executive Douglas Ross said: "Our outreach coordinator confirmed . that, on average, twice a month she receives reports from patients that their anti-retrovirals have been stolen, either at knife-point or snatched from their hands."

The Aids lobbying group, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), has warned against smoking Stocrin, part of a triple-therapy cocktail given to Aids patients, and reported to be the drug being abused.

Stocrin was "a very toxic drug", TAC spokesman Lerato Maloka said.

"Stocrin affects the central nervous system. People who have depression or psychotic illness shouldn't take it because it will make their condition worse."

People using the drug might experience side-effects such as dizziness, nightmares and hallucinations.

Community worker Nancy Sias said: "People of all ages are stealing Stocrin.

"They say it gives them a better high than Mandrax and that it makes them feel dizzy, weird and have wonderful dreams."

Ross urged Aids patients to conceal their medicines. - Sapa-AFP - Sapa-AFP

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