Experience and Behaviour(s) of Students who use Nyaope Drug at a South African University

Mphahlele Lucky Sibusiso, Mokgadi Setwaba, Kathryn Nel, Indiran Govender*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The use of illicit drugs affects people globally. The use of nyaope (whonga) has been increasing in South Africa amongst the youth, especially university students. Its use is associated with a wide range of negative consequences, such as poor academic performance, theft, rape, risky sexual behaviours, and social dysfunctionality. Aim: This study sought to explore the self-reported experiences of students who use nyaope. Setting: The setting was the University of Limpopo. Methods: The health belief model (HBM) was used as a theoretical paradigm in this study. A qualitative research approach with a phenomenological, exploratory design was used. The researchers wanted to obtain first-hand in-depth information. The sample of six participants was purposively selected. Criteria of trustworthiness were used to ensure the rigour of the findings. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. This study was conducted from 01 March 2019 to June 2019. Results: Four major themes emerged from the analysis, which were supported by existing evidence. The main themes that arose were reasons for nyaope use and excessive drug use were: Decline in mental and psychological well-being and Intentions to stop using nyaope. The sub-themes were: Peer pressure, Academic pressure, Decline in academic performance, Isolation from others, Discrimination by peers and others and Criminal activities. Conclusion: Participants reported experiencing a decline in academic performance, deteriorating relationships with others, poor physical and psychological well-being, behavioural changes and perceiving that they were discriminated against.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere187494452212061
JournalOpen Public Health Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Academic performance
  • Drop out
  • Drug abuse
  • Excessive drug abuse
  • Peer pressure
  • Research stress


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