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Nowhere to go but relapse?

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Written by Mishack Mahlangu

Gauteng’s lack of halfway houses and after rehabilitation care could be setting some former drug addicts up to fail, according to social worker Goddard Ngobeni who works in Winterveld outside of Pretoria.

Two third of former addicts will relapse, according to government statistics

Two third of former addicts will relapse, according to government statistics

Ngobeni was speaking at a recent drug awareness meeting held at a Winterveld auditorium about 40 kms northwest of Pretoria. The meeting brought together community members, civil society groups and the local drug action committee from not only Winterveld but also the nearby communities of Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa.

“There are escalating number of (nyaope addicts) from the ages of 14 to 39 years of age on the database that are to be prepared to be referred to rehabilitation centres, which are very limited in the province,” he told OurHealth. “The worry fact is that service users are relapsing after completing rehab due to lack of after care and halfway houses in our localities.”

As of late 2013, pubic sector drug treatment facilities were only available in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

The country had not public halfway houses at that time. Halfway houses allow recovering substance abusers to live in home where, under monitoring and follow up care, they can begin to re-integrate into society by, for instance, looking for work.

However, there are plans to build more public treatment facilities to bring the country in line with the country’s 2008 Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act. The Act mandates treatment centres in every province as well as the creation of public halfway houses.

Lukas Mbiza, 49, says that his addiction to drinking cost him his family and his job. He told OurHealth that he feels he may be mentally ill and in need of help.

Community members said the meeting allowed them to feedback their own experiences to local health workers and others.

“With this kind of dialogue, we are able to engage face-to-face with government and other service providers about the type of service we receive in clinics,” said Ganyani Miyambo a parent of one of the recovering addicts attending the dialogue. “That makes us responsible citizens able to hold our government accountable.” – Health-e News Service.

About the author

Mishack Mahlangu

Mishack Mahlangu is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Tshwane Health District.

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