Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Clean needles provided to Colombia heroin users

01 October 2015, 12:45

Dosquebradas — As night falls, heroin addicts walk toward a white truck distributing rubber tubes, syringes and sterilized water.

The kits come from a group called Cambie — Spanish for change. Every evening, the Cambie team combs the industrial town for addicts, hoping to swap new syringes for used ones so they don't end up in public parks, where children can step on them or they can be reused by other addicts, increasing the risk of HIV or hepatitis transmission.

Team members are nonjudgmental.

Social worker Hugo Castro doesn't reproach 39-year-old Wilson Pineda as he shows him how to tie a tourniquet over his arm to tap a vein instead of hitting a muscle.

"Sometimes I come every day. Other times I'm asleep because I'm so high," says Pineda, who said he's been shooting up for three years.

Also read: Dutch tourist killed in Colombia 'boat robbery'

The 18-month-old pilot program, supported by philanthropist George Soros' Open Society Foundations, has attracted attention in a country long identified with the war on drugs. Here, programs for users have received scant support compared to the billions of dollars spent pursuing powerful drug cartels.

But now, faced with a dramatic rise in drug consumption, Colombia's Health Ministry hopes to replicate the needle exchange program in other cities such as Bogota and Medellin.

More than 900 addicts in Dosquebradas and the neighboring city of Pereira have received help to date from Cambie. The group, comprised of recovering addicts, also tests illicit drugs for their purity so junkies can see what dangerous adulterants they're consuming.

The program builds trust with mostly poor youth, giving them someone to turn to if they decide to kick the habit.

Colombia is one of only two heroin producers in the Western Hemisphere and the largest supplier of cocaine to the U.S. Drug consumption in the country is rising fast, with 12.2 percent of adults reporting narcotics use in the latest national drug survey in 2013 compared with 8.8 percent in 2008.

- AP


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...