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Curios.ty 16 (#Drugs): Between hope and hell

- Curiosity

In this issue, we highlight the diversity, scope, and multi-dimensional nature of drug-related research at Wits University.

The 16th issue of Wits University’s research magazine, Curios.ty, themed: #Drugs, is available online now: (To republish articles, see guidelines below).

Curiosity 16: #Drugs ©

We delve into advances in HIV drugs and the economic potential of cannabis respectively, and look at innovations in drug delivery, drug adherence, psychedelic therapeutics, and what horses have to do with snake venom, and birth control with mosquitoes.

We also explore alternatives to traditional cancer treatments, consider antibiotics and their corollary antimicrobial resistance, and how plants could mitigate this World Health Organization-identified threat.

Yet, amidst the promising horizons, we turn our attention to the shadows, probing the darker realms of drug research about addiction, doping in sports, and how those legal but lethal drugs – alcohol and cigarettes – permeate our lives as do ‘fixes’ in food and the modern proclivity to ‘pop pills’ for obesity or for nutritional supplementation.


  1. Leading the way to an HIV cure (page 8): The battle to save millions of HIV positive lives bears fruit in unexpected ways.
  2. Obesity: A new treatment frontier (page 12): Current treatments are complex and expensive but new studies reveal that obesity medication could be the answer to this epidemic.
  3. The daily drugs in our diet (page 18): Aggressively marketed, promoted by influencers, and glamourised in the media, regular and accessible stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and ultra-processed foods are far from benign.
  4. Inside the mushroom bubble (page 20): Are psychedelic substances the magic bullet they claimed to be for the treatment of conditions such as depression and post-traumatic disorder?
  5. Turning green grass into gold (page 28): Academia holds a uniquely advantageous position to show what a thriving sector the cannabis industry could be for the country.
  6. Blocking the opioid pipeline (page 36): Treating opioid addiction is a painful, time consuming and often frustrating process. New medication can help solve this problem.

About Curios.ty

Curios.ty is a print and digital magazine that aims to make the research at Wits University accessible to multiple publics. Curios.ty is available on the Wits website here:

Copyright and republication

© All material in this publication is copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction of any part of the publication is permitted only with the express written permission of the Head of Communications at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. For permissions, send an email to

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