Drug use unacceptable in shelters

2015-10-22 06:00

HOMELESS shelters are no place for drug and alcohol users.

The Fever spoke to a local shelter owner who said they are against the use of drugs in their facility.

The owner, who requested her name be reserved as it the rules and regulations of the shelter not to divulge personal information.

“In our facility we have rules that everyone coming into the shelter is made aware of before being placed.”

She said as an NGO they offer social services and comply with regulations given to them by the Department of Social Development.

She said however, if they find or suspect that one is using drugs or alcohol they have a referral system to help the person.

“If we suspect that someone is on drugs or is consuming alcohol while in our care we ask our supervisor, who is responsible for approaching the person, to ask them about the problem.

“We then give an option of running tests - urine or blood - to prove if the person is clean. However, if the person disagrees then we are left with no choice but to tell them to leave the shelter, if they are in denial and there is enough evidence to support that they are on a substance,” she said.

The problem of drug users running into shelters is big because most think they can get away with it.

The shelter runs a test and if it is positive they refer the person to a magistrate or to a social worker in order for them to get help.

“We try to help a person come clean in every way possible. When one is referred to the magistrate they go into a programme given by the magistrate.

“If they are found guilty and once they have undergone the programme they then get a letter from the magistrate stating they are clean and they are placed back into the shelter,” she said.

If they choose to go to a social worker the same procedure is followed until they are clean. If not, they are placed in a rehabilitation centre.

“At this shelter we also have an Alan Carr programme for smokers. This does not mean we do not allow smokers, but if we see that it is out of control we refer them for help. We do have designated smoking areas for smokers as their behaviour is not as abnormal as that of drug or alcohol users,” she said

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