Tackling drug abuse, safety head on

2017-03-08 06:03

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IN an effort to create a better, safer community, a District Drug and Substance Abuse Forum as well as a Community Safety Forum were launched on Friday.

The forums were launched at the iLembe Auditorium where responsibilities of each department and stakeholders were shared in order to strive towards a drug-free society and a safe environment.

According to Department of Social Development (DSD) director Radesh Byroo each government department must be represented in the District Drug and Substance Abuse Forum as well as non-governmental organisations and the business community.

“The plan should include how demand, supply and harm can be reduced. We need to look at how we can close the tap on supply. SAPS will have to disclose its plan and successes on seizure of alcohol and the supply of drugs.

“The Department of Justice will have to share its success rate on prosecutions and the Department of Transport as well on drunk driving charges and plans on roadblocks.
“Each department must have a plan to reduce harm, for example for people experimenting with drugs as well as people who are already addicted,” he said.

Mayor of iLembe Siduduzo Gumede, who will chair both forums, told government representatives that it was important for the forums to be functional and not to be established for the sake of compliance.

“It is important that we all work together and tackle these serious issues. I see that SAPS, education, crime prevention and DSD are present here and other activists from relevant departments. You have the knowledge and weapons,” he said.

Addressing the launch of the Community Safety Forum, Sam Zwane from the Department of Crime Prevention thanked Gumede for insisting that the two structures be formed in the region.

“This is the first step and with the passion and commitment that I see from everybody in this room, I am positive things will happen,” he said.

Zwane said the Community Safety Forum is not destined to replace Crime Prevention Forums but will be made up of representatives from government and community organisations (CPFs included and civil society).

Chairperson of Civil Society in the region, Richard Shandu, pledged support to both forums: “There are a number of cases of people being robbed off their anti-retroviral treatment by drug addicts to make the drug whoonga. As civil society we would like to place on record that we will do whatever we can to ensure that there structures work.”

“It is important that we all work together and tackle these serious issues. I see that SAPS, education, crime prevention and DSD are present here and other activists from relevant departments. You have the knowledge and weapons.”

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