The spectre of drugs hit home recently eliciting a comment from the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.
Drugs and substance abuse have been a long-time concern in almost every community leaving families worried that addiction has been acculturated especially in children and the youth. The peddlers are said to be known community members who make millions of rands in profit from poor communities through their illicit drug trade.
Mayathula-Khoza was reacting to an incident in which about 40 youth, said to be from Mamelodi and interested in rehabilitation, stormed Dr Fabian and Florence Ribeiro Treatment Centre in Tshwane on one Saturday night. In a statement from the department, they are said to have demanded to be admitted at the centre without being properly processed in accordance with the rehabilitation admissions procedures of government.
Mayathula-Khoza said, “We are encouraged by their interest to find solutions themselves. But it is important that proper procedures are followed.”Otherwise, we run serious health risks if patients are not clinically assessed to eliminate possibilities of communicable diseases as this might create untold health problems.”
She further said, in reference to the centre, that their good intention could be easily used by rival gangs who could place the lives of current patients in danger.
She said the first aim should always be prevention and early intervention for those at risk of addiction. “I understand these young people were joined by some of their parents. I wish we could have them cooperating with the government to ensure prevention because it is the most primary proactive measure.
“We have several services including our Ke Moja campaign which is slang for I am OK without drugs.”
Mayathula-Khoza added that the prevention and awareness campaigns are community and school-based and focus on preventing serious harm to high-risk learners. They are done through group therapy sessions, alcohol safety schools, diversion programmes and behaviour modification camps.
“But if people must be admitted, we need to provide them with specialised social, psychological and medical services in order to address the social and health consequences of substance abuse.
“The processes include detoxification, pharmacological and other therapeutic interventions of individual, group and family aftercare and assessments by
multidisciplinary teams of professional social workers, nurses, medical practitioners, psychologists, occupational therapist and psychiatrists.”
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