The misuse and abuse of drugs is a major safety and social development challenge in Tshwane. This challenge affects all residents, but poorer communities are disproportionally affected due to poor access to healthcare, higher exposure to drug-related activities that leads to crime and violence, and a lessened ability to seek out rehabilitation due to cost or availability.
On Tuesday, 8 May 2018, the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cllr Solly Msimanga, visited the HOPELINE contact centre to assess the gallant work being done to reduce substance abuse and its harmful consequences among the Tshwane youth.
"When we launched HOPELINE in 2017, we did it with the full appreciation of the dangerous drug addiction that ravages family lives. As a caring administration, we needed to act swiftly and lend a helping hand to service users and their families to get access to assistance through referral to rehabilitation services and counselling," said the Executive Mayor.
"The establishment of HOPELINE has added many positives towards our cause. It has helped the City promote and strengthen working relationships with stakeholders on the drug and substance abuse programme and offers communities the opportunity to anonymously report drug peddlers. Importantly, it has registered over 400 calls from residents looking for help with respect to locating the nearest drug rehabilitation centre," continued the Executive Mayor.
The City's approach in fighting this deadly scourge is multi-pronged, looking at prevention, suppression and intervention. The City's offer is focused on drug prevention wherein it educates residents about the dangers and effects of drug abuse through sharing information and awareness campaigns. A specialised unit was established to target drug dealers and manufacturers. Drug intervention is a key focus for the City and we have created an enabling environment for registered NGOs to provide services, such as aftercare interventions.
Residents are encouraged to contact the HOPELINE toll free number, 0800 HOPE GP (4673 47).
"We need the public to take a stand and declare war on drugs within their communities. One life destroyed by drug use is one life too many. We have to rescue our lost generation from this and we have to leverage our partnerships and existing tools to make progress in this regard," concluded the Executive Mayor.