The precise composition of Nyaope is disputed across a range of different reports.

It’s often mixed with a range of components that can include anything from rat poison or detergent powder as a bulking agent. There have been widespread reports of AIDS drugs also been added into Nyaope, however this is relatively rare occurrence. The carrier drug dagga is generally used alongside addictive substances like heroin or a mixture of heroin and the street drug tik.

Nyaope would therefore simply be a new channel to treating tik or methamphetamine and heroin or opiate based drug addictions. Nyaope is consumed in the format of a joint which the user typically smokes. The drug first appeared between 2007 and 2009 in South Africa and has strengthened its spread among the poor population in the townships of 2010 and beyond.

The word “whoonga” probably originates from Tanzania where originally drug dealers and consumers used for heroin-based drugs in South Africa the more common term is Nyaope.

Whoonga is sold at a street price of about 20 Rand per dose (2010)  and it is easily and readily available to consumers.

Due to the high risk of addiction, the drug leads to increased drug-related crime. A particular problem is the misuse of AIDS drugs that are in burglaries in hospitals and raids on patients stolen or sold by poor patients themselves to drug traffickers, thus hindering an effective treatment of AIDS.