City’s battle with young drug addicts

2014-02-14 00:00

REHABILITATING whoonga addicts is a big challenge for the eThekwini municipality and the NGOs contracted to help them kick the habit.

The municipality deals with adult addicts while the two NGOs, iCare and Agape Reception Centre deals with teenage addicts.

During a December periodic progress assessment of the two NGOs contracted to help remove the teenagers from the streets, it was discovered that most of those taken to rehab for drug addiction returned to the streets.

Nomusa Shembe, Safe Cities senior manager, said between July and December last year, 25 adult drug addicts were sent to the Newlands Park Centre for rehabilitation.

“It is shocking that the majority of those people have since escaped back to the streets to feed their addiction. We have very few rehabilitation centres but we strive to provide help at all costs,” said Shembe.

She said they will convene a meeting with the municipality’s social partners sometime next week where ways to deal with the problem will be discussed.

According to Shembe, a draft of a social development master plan will be tabled to council seeking approval to implement stringent measures to deal with vagrants and drug addicts.

Among other things, the plan seeks to have the Police, Health, Home Affairs and Social Development departments involved in dealing with drug addicts, both adults and teenagers.

She said details of the plan can only be made available once approved by council.

Anne Slatter, iCare general manager, said on the third of this month alone, 14 teenagers have been taken to rehab for whoonga addiction. “Our main challenge is that drugs are easily available to young children. When they get addicted to whoonga it is a mission to deal with them,” said Slatter.

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