Standing up against DRUGS

2016-05-24 06:00
 Photo: Nosipho MkhizeKatsi Youth in Action members (from left) Hlombakazi Nophakela, Zipho Mkhize and Sanelisiwe Dlamini.

Photo: Nosipho MkhizeKatsi Youth in Action members (from left) Hlombakazi Nophakela, Zipho Mkhize and Sanelisiwe Dlamini.

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WHEN her brother died from a drug overdose, Zipho Mkhize, the founder of NGO, Katsi Youth in Action, decided it was time to take action by helping the youth who are involved in illegal substances.

“My brother was a drug addict and a drug dealer. He distributed many types of drugs, while using them. He started using drugs at the age of 13. I got to know about them because he used them in front of me under our roof.
“He was in and out of jail. He lived his whole life under the influence of drugs and shifted from one drug to another. He never stopped until he died in 2013 at the age of 41.”

After her brother died she realised five months later that her son was smoking dagga.
“I spoke to a lady named Joey du Plessis from Careline in Hillcrest., which helped a lot because she taught me that addiction is not a choice, but something that is genetic. Drugs are a choice, not addiction.
“Then I remembered that my dad died at the age of 39 from hepatitis B, caused by alcohol. Addiction is like a brain disease so people must be taught about it. That’s when I decided to help my son and his friends to get clean.”

Katsi Youth in Action was established in 2013 and now operates at Kwadabeka at the eZibambelweni Old Age Home premises.
The organisation implements various programmes including detox programmes where addicts are taken to Kwadabeka Clinic for detox, prevention programmes where members conduct drug awareness campaigns in schools, community events, parents school meetings and churches in Pinetown, Hillcrest and surrounding areas.

“We work with 22 schools in Clermont. We recently went to Kwanyuswa where we held drug awareness talks at Siyajabula High School. We played a big part in Kwamashu after pupils died due to an ecstasy overdose last month.

“We do early intervention programmes for new drug users who have not reached ‘disaster phase’. We see them individually at our offices or at schools once a week for two hours for three months. We normally get clients after we conduct drug awareness talks - some of them come to us while others are referred by parents, teachers, principals and police.
“During our talks we teach them about different types of drugs and their side effects. We teach them about areas of recovery and the meaning of relapse and triggers, then we monitor them by conducting urine tests, which tell us the type of drug the person is using and whether they have shifted from one drug to another.”

She said they also do home visits, which is called family joint counselling.
“We do home visits for addicts who want to quit a particular drug, and that’s when we teach them about that specific drug and its side effects as well the withdrawal symptoms. Then we nominate a family member to be the addict’s supporter.”

The organisation gets funding from jumbo sales and fund-raising events and rely on donations.
A Kwadabeka resident Ntombi Ndlovu said: “I received a call from my child’s school informing me that my child was caught smoking dagga and they referred me to this organisation. I am glad we will receive the help that is needed.”

For more information, contact 078 692 2407.

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