From 3 to 4 June 2019, the City of Tshwane brought together recovering addicts, experts and various other stakeholders in Centurion for a Drug and Substance Abuse Symposium that was aimed at creating awareness of and gathering all relevant stakeholders in the fight against drug and substance abuse.
Tshwane is severely affected by a drug called Nyaope, which has been identified as a substance that dominates the streets of the capital city. The City has also observed an increase in intravenous drug use known as "Bluetooth", which further exacerbates the challenges in our communities and impacts on the health system. Drugs are an extreme social calamity and, if not attended to, could result in the total collapse of known community structures.
The symposium was aimed at –
- identifying best practices from all stakeholders;
- identifying gaps in current strategies; and
- identifying strategies to close the identified gaps.
Professor Jannie Hugo from the University of Pretoria, who works with community outreach programmes, says substance abuse continues to be difficult to fight due to a lack of understanding of the threat drug abuse poses to local communities. Hugo believes that reducing the harm and suffering from drug abuse is key to fighting the scourge.
The acting Executive Mayor, Alderman Anniruth Kissoonduth (MMC for Health), signed a pledge to commit the City of Tshwane to intensify its campaign against drug and substance abuse and to build a safer environment for residents. Given the complexity of this drug abuse problem, the City believes that it can adequately address this challenge through the collective wisdom of various stakeholders within and outside government.
The City of Tshwane Drug Master Plan will link with the City's strategic objectives and ensure a shared commitment by all City of Tshwane departments in the implementation of the plan.