‘Light of hope’ for addicts

2015-05-05 06:00

A Matrix treatment centre for drug and alcohol abuse has been opened by council in Manenberg.

“Today we can shine a light of hope in the darkness brought about by substance abuse,” said Mayor Patricia de Lille at the official launch on Monday 20 April.

The facility in Ruimte Road has already seen 24 clients since opening its doors on Monday 9 February this year.

“As the City of Cape Town, we are proud of each and every person who has completed the treatment programme. One of the major benefits of this programme is that it enables recovering addicts to receive support from their families and communities while they attend the treatment centres,” De Lille said in her speech.

The City aims to make this service as accessible as possible, De Lille says, which is why clients can access the service without an appointment.

“Unlike in-patient treatment sites, these facilities have no waiting period. As soon as someone reaches out for help, we will be able to assist them immediately. Admittance into the programme is also quick and easy,” she says.

On arrival clients. receive an immediate alcohol and drug screening and are offered an HIV test.

An appointment will then be made for them to see a therapist for an assessment. Once assessed, they can enter the programme immediately.

“The results are apparent from the many success stories we bear witness to daily. One such success story is 37-year-old Eloise from Bonteheuwel who was addicted to tik for eight years. One day she hit rock bottom and decided to approach her local priest for assistance,” De Lille said.

He recommended the Matrix treatment site in Delft South and she was helped immediately.

Today she has been in recovery for more than two years, De Lille says.

Eloise now owns her own small business and works for the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme, doing outreach in various communities, encouraging at-risk youth to make a change in their lives.

“This is someone who is living proof of the success of this programme. One of the other main indicators for success of a treatment programme is the percentage of drug-free urine tests,” De Lille said.

Currently, that percentage is 73%, which is well above the 65% target initially set.

“Today I want to take the opportunity to urge all drug users, and the family members of drug users, to reach out and make use of the help that the City is offering,” she said.

“We are again running the ‘I have a drug problem’ campaign to raise awareness about our 24-hour helpline, which can be reached by calling 0800 43 5748.

“We want residents to come forward and report the drug dealers in their communities so that we can put a stop to the supply of drugs through our law enforcement operations,” she said.

All of these interventions form part of a R37,8m investment by the City to combat substance abuse in the metro this year.

The City has also invested R300 000 in the Manenberg facility towards part of the operation costs, as well as renovation and maintenance.

“We are doing everything we can in this fight and now, more than ever before, we need communities to come forward and work with us,” she said.

“We will only be able to fight substance abuse and make truly sustainable progress possible together.

Let us be inspired by the 8 122 individuals who have been through this programme and shown that the fight is possible and worthwhile.”

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