Helping addicts get back into society

Left: Pictured at the back, from left, are Sultan Bahu Rehabilitation Centres operations manager CJ Fabricks; social workers Qaanita Abrahams, Annelize Lombard and Nabeelah Paulsen, treatment manager Shuaib Hoosain and addictions counsellor Gafeetha Santon. In front are UWC third year social work students Josua Marshall, 22, from Kuils River, Kay Rudolph 21, from Heideveld, Aluta Sneke, 21, from the Eastern Cape, and Peter Koeras, 34, from Stellenbosch.

Third-year University of the Western Cape social work students arranged an event for recovering drug addicts, family and friends to help them reintegrate into society.

As part of their coursework Josua Marshall, 22, from Kuils River, Kay Rudolph 21, from Heideveld, Aluta Sneke, 21, from the Eastern Cape, and Peter Koeras, 34, from Stellenbosch, had been stationed at Sultan Bahu Rehabilitation Centres, in Hanover Park, Parow and Westridge for the past seven months.

The centres offer community-based treatment, after-care and a 12-week outpatient Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) programme, which combines the use of prescribed medication (suboxone) and psychosocial therapy.

The culmination of the students’ stint at the centres included their macro project, also known as their community project – an open day on Wednesday October 17 at the Hanover Park centre, corner of Lansur and Lonedown roads.

They invited education, vocational and service institutions to share opportunities with the recovering addicts.

Ms Sneke said information was key in ensuring recovering addicts knew what their options were and how best to make use of opportunities.

“I think everyone should be given hope to know they can change and can have a second chance in improving their circumstances,” she said.

She said disseminating information about drug addiction, related services and how the community could access help was a challenge.

Mr Koeras said social cohesion was necessary for recovering addicts to get the support and help they need, once they were back home.

“They must know what their rights are and feel confident to participate in society, in the community and how to manage their relationships,” he said.

Ms Rudolph said they should keep pen and paper close by – a journal – in which they could jot down notes, record their dreams and aspirations and record their successes and failures to know what they have been through and that they had overcome their challenges.

She also said recovering addicts needed airtime to communicate and be in contact with people.

“I once read a quote ‘An addict alone is in bad company’, and we need to keep them talking. They don’t have to be scared,” she said.

Ms Rudolph encouraged the community to visit the centres and to know what services are on offer, so they can be informed and share information with their neighbours.

For more information on the centre email bahuct@yahoo.com; visit their Mitchell’s Plain centre at 92 Shepherd Way in Westridge, call 021 372 2945; their Parow centre is at 27 Picton Street or call 021 694 9874.