The last hope

2011-02-05 16:12

Khayelihle Gumbi is the founder of the Ukukhanya rehabilitation programme in Inanda. A recovering alcoholic, he established Ukukhanya rehab centre in 2008 to treat alcoholics.

At that time whoonga was not popular but it was already being used in the townships, and a year later Ukukhanya started also taking in whoonga addicts.

He admits only 15 patients for a period of 15 days or less, depending on how quickly the person recovers.

He said treating whoonga addicts and dealers required determination and commitment from the addict. During rehabilitation they hold meetings with addicts every day and share their experiences, a process that is believed to boost their self-esteem.

“Addiction is not a good thing. It can break you down and destroy your life,” said Gumbi.

Addicts attend counselling sessions ­after they are discharged so that they stay clean.

Because the cocktail is multilayered, it is a challenge to heal whoonga addicts.

Walter Peterson of the South African National Council for Alcoholism said the process was to deal with the heroin or cocaine addiction first, and then focus on the dagga.

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