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  • City of Tshwane urges residents to take note of available support services as we mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

    City of Tshwane urges residents to take note of available support services as we mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

    Fri, Jun 24, 2022

    The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed annually on 26 June. The purpose of the day is to create awareness of drug and alcohol abuse and to prioritise active cooperation to create drug-free societies throughout the world. 

    To observe this important day, the City of Tshwane has lined up various programmes that will highlight the plight of substance abuse and offer assistance where needed.

     

    In a recent study, the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) found that drug and alcohol abuse in Tshwane was widespread and that especially cannabis and alcohol were used on a regular basis. 19% of households that took part in the study indicated that at least one person residing in the household had a substance use problem.

     

    The negative impact of drug and alcohol abuse in communities is well documented. It has social and economic implications and leads to serious disruption of family and community harmony. Violence, joblessness, women and child abuse, traffic accidents, gangsterism and the general breakdown of the social fibre in communities can often be directly linked to alcohol and drug abuse.

     

    According to the National Drug Master Plan (2019–2024) the world drug problem and related responses continue to present challenges to the health, safety and well-being of people in South Africa. The country has become a consumer, producer and transit country for drugs. Socio-economic factors such as poverty, inequality and unemployment remain key contributing elements to the increased use of drugs and the development of substance use disorders.

     

    Alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive substance and cannabis is by far the most-used illicit drug on the streets. Most of the deaths in South Africa – as much as 58% – can be attributed to alcohol consumption.

     

    The main activities of the City regarding substance abuse will focus on the following:

     

    • The Drug and Substance Abuse Response Unit of the City of Tshwane Health Department will again reach out to qualifying non-profit organisations in Tshwane.


    The purpose will be to partner with stakeholders in activities aimed at harm and demand reduction in communities. An amount of R2 million has been set aside for this purpose in the new financial year.

     

    • The main vehicle used by the City to address the drug problem in Tshwane is the Community Oriented Substance Abuse Programme (COSUP), which is a partnership with the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Pretoria. COSUP uses a multidimensional strategy to provide support to drug users, their families and affected communities. This involves medical interventions, counselling, social services, HIV and TB screening, needle exchange programme, opioid substitution therapy, post-rehabilitation support services and skills development. To ensure the continuity of these important services at the 16 COSUP centres, a total of R31,779 million has been allocated.

       
    • The HopeLine 24-hour call centre forms part of this collaboration with the University of Pretoria. It provides counselling services for victims of drug and substance abuse as well as other social support services related to issues such as sexual assault, domestic violence and mental health challenges. The HopeLine can be contacted toll-free on 080 061 1197 and 080 046 7347.

       
    • The City further avails qualified social workers to counsel victims of drug and alcohol abuse.

       

    The scourge of drug and alcohol abuse cannot be addressed by the government alone. It manifests itself within the economic, social, religious, family and community environment, and it is therefore important that stakeholders that operate in these spaces also become involved.

     

    I want to encourage all stakeholders in Tshwane to take hands with the City to fight these addictions that tear our families and communities apart. Let us use the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as a springboard to create awareness in our communities.

     

    Individuals and organisations that want to get involved are welcome to contact the City of Tshwane Health Department for advice and guidance. 


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