Visionary plan to help Bay youth beat drugs

2019-03-13 06:01
The exterior of the house. Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

The exterior of the house. Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

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“WE cannot sit idly by and see how drugs are killing our youth and destroying our community. We have this vision of a multi-purpose treatment facility in the heart of the community.”

Dave Coleman is in the process of realising his dream of opening a rehabilitation facility in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.

The Nationwide Treatment Centre will be a controlled environment with professional stakeholders on board, but with a difference in the sense that it will equip patients with skills development after they have completed their treatment programme.

Coleman, entrepreneur and owner of Dave’s Gym in West End and Gelvandale, has put together an experienced and skilled team to run the facility. They are Zurina Ghulam, Sinalo Mbono, Cassim Cherval and Ralton Turner.

Ghulam, currently running a substance abuse support programme in Korsten, will be heading the centre as the director and Turner will be taking charge of patients’ skills development. Ghulam has nearly 20 years’ experience in drug rehabilitation, education and awareness and Turner has 27 years’ experience in life coaching.

“We want to treat the whole of the person and cleanse the body and the mind. The person needs her or his mind to be strong. We want to give them skills and career guidance,” Turner said.

He added that recovering addicts need to be made employable. “After completion they need to be integrated back into society, and that’s where we will come in – to assist with that process. It is essential they learn things like how to deal with conflict and how to make the correct decisions in life,” Turner said. “People want to have a vision. But we need to equip and show them how to get there. We need to empower them.”

The facility will have in-patient and outpatient programmes. With most of the paperwork already in place, the facility should be up and running by the end of the year.

According to Coleman, the treatment centre will offer affordable rates and those patients with medical aid will be able to make use of it.

The centre will be based at Coleman’s property in Cleary Park a house which can accommodate up to 20 people comfortably. There are also rooms which will be turned into recreational areas and ample space for outpatients to be treated confidentially.

Mbono, a social worker, explained that the Nationwide Treatment Centre will also offer assessments, individual and group counselling and referrals.

It will also offer an aftercare support group. Ghulam said, “I’ve dealt with patients who just need to be around other people all the time and who feel that they should not be left alone. That is why an aftercare facility is needed.”

Coleman added, “I want people to understand what we are trying to do here. This is not a moneymaking thing. We have the expertise on board and a building at hand to make this work and actively fight drug abuse.

“We, as the founding members have a motto called MAD - Making a Difference, and that is exactly what we are planning to do,” Coleman said.

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