Parents learn to help

2019-02-19 06:01
By the second day of the advert being released, the event was already fully booked. PHOTO: sAMANTHA LEE

By the second day of the advert being released, the event was already fully booked. PHOTO: sAMANTHA LEE

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For every drug user, there are 17 people affected.

With this in mind, an initiative by the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre (CTDCC), to assist parents and family members of substance abusers was brought closer to the community on Saturday.

While the CTDCC already offer parent counselling at their premises, Ashley Potts, CTDCC director says it was time to move out of the office and bring the initiative closer to the residents.

“In speaking to residents and in all the articles I have done, I always give my cell number. As a result, I have received many messages from residents and I realised that there is a greater need for intervention for the family of the user, than there is for the user. I have seen more and more that the family is given less help and attention,” says Potts.

“We are not giving attention to the 17 people affected, we are always giving more attention to the one. This causes more stigma and shame for the user.”

The training focussed on dealing with the illness of addiction and how the parents could cope and support addicts. The workshop was hosted by CTDCC inhouse training manager, Natalie Bossi.

The free training, held at the Thusong Centre, focussed on the illness of addiction, better ways to cope with addiction, understand the roles they play and what goes on in the mind of a user. This forms part of their existing clinical approach through psyco-social activity.

“We want to get all communities across the Western Cape Educated on the illness of addiction. If we get parents and families to know how to deal better with the users, the users may not need as much intervention,” says Potts. “There is a desperation among our people. It is depressing and I can see clearly there is a demand for this. We must listen to them and bring a measure of training to help them change their circumstances.”

Venetia Orgill, a resident who attended the workshop says she has personal experience with drug addiction.

“My late son was an addict and I have a daughter who is in recovery,” she says.

“This is a calling I take on my life. I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk. It takes around 1000 days for a person to be fully recovered, so I try and walk with them,” she says.

Orgill now works with homeless people who suffers from addiction.

“There are many peole who are homeless because of substance abuse and alcohol so I run a programme assisting them getting off the streets and recovery,” she says.

Orgill believes more initiatives need to be introduced for the family of addicts.

“I came (today) because you can always help someone along your path. I feel talking to people could help understand that you can overcome. I don’t have an addict now, but I am an overcomer and it is important to share a message of hope,” she says.

Charmaine Marhorta, subforum chairperson in Tafelsig says the drug problem is extensive in Mitchell’s Plain and that they are trying their best to curb it.

She attended the event to learn how to help families who they may come across on patrols who need assistance.

“My step father was an addict and I saw what it did to him. He would sell my mother’s stuff for a fix. Then when he was high, the abuse would start,” she says.

Domestic violence as a result of substance abuse is still a concern in Tafelsig, she says.

“Many addicts in the area are young adults, starting at 16 and we must do something for them.”

Natalie Amos, another resident who attended, says more workshops for parents are needed.

“I wanted to come to get more awareness and information on how I can play a role. I am [working] in the church and I wanted to know what role the church can play in the challenges our communities are facing. We have learnt so many valuable lessons,” says Amos.

Amos says she too has had to deal with a close relative who was addicted and agrees more information is needed on how to support addicts.

Potts says it is important that the focus shifts.

“There is always people who say addicts will only seek help when they hit rock
bottom.

“When they hit rock bottom they have lost everything. They have no dignity, no home. We want to get them before they hit rock bottom,” he says.

The CTDCC hosts parent counselling sessions every first Wednesday at their Eastridge premises in Civet Street.

These free workshops will be a continued initiative, Potts says.

For more information, call Potts on 082 887 6440


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