Tackling substance abuse holistically

Pictured, left, is Andrew Petersen, Life Choices family affairs facilitator with Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus Mckenzie.

With a lot of youngsters in Bonteheuwel between the ages of 10 and 20 either drug users or having had experimented with drugs, Ward 50 councillor Angus Mckenzie has partnered with the Life Choices organisation to provide a holistic approach to combating substance abuse.

The programme, which kicks off at the Bonteheuwel Reading Room today, will start with a screening about drugs followed by a three-month rehabilitation programme.

During the three months a facilitator will work with the drug addict and their family to rehabilitate not only the drug user but the affected people as well. They will visit the homes of the drug addicts and speak with each individual in the house to find out where the root of the problem is.

Mr Mckenzie said the area has a high number of drug users but an even higher number of people affected by drug users.

“In a family you might have one person using drugs but two or three affected by that person’s behaviour.

“The programme doesn’t just focus on the addict but on the family as well so that they can be reintegrated into society and be better people and community members.

“Some people don’t know how to deal with a child on drugs so this programme will help them,” he said.

The programme has already signed up 22 families and there are more spaces available.

“I would encourage more families to be part of this and together we can overcome the challenges we face as a community.

“As I have mentioned before, I have declared war on drug and substance abuse, however, I am also fully supportive and committed to assisting those casualties of this war,” Mr Mckenzie said.

The rehabilitation programme will include treatment and support, skills development, self realisation, and encourage addicts to think positively.

The programme aims to: understand parent dynamics, build family resilience, understand children’s behaviour, improve parental styles, improve communication and listening skills, and improve the relationship between parent and child.

Mr Mckenzie said he hopes the programme will be of help to the community.

“We must do something about it. We can’t sit by and do nothing and watch it happen. Nobody wants to be in that situation but they often struggle to get out of it or take the first step to recovery,” he said.

For more information about the rehabilitation programme, call 021 696 4157 or 021 696 4167.