Community Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre opened to combat drug addiction

The war on drugs has hit the Alexandra Township as Mayor Herman Mashaba and Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse opened the River Park Community Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre.
The region is characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty, with poverty concentrated in Alexandra.
This is the fifth facility that the multi-party government launched as part of the City’s Integrated Strategy to eradicate substance abuse and other related social ills.
River Park Clinic, which has won platinum status after achieving the ideal clinic standards, will house the Community Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre that will render the much needed outpatient rehabilitation services to users, their families and the community.
Since February 2018, the City has opened three outpatient treatment centres in Tladi, Soweto, Eldorado Park Extension 9 and Joubert Park in the Inner City, as well as the Golden Harvest inpatient facility in Northwold.
From the research conducted by Social Development, it is reported that 60% of youth in Alexandra is battling the scourge of substance abuse, which is why the need in this area is huge. Statistics revealed that the most commonly used drugs were crack, dagga and nyaope.
The Chief of Police committed to reinforcing the anti-corruption strategy and dealing with the corruption and influence of drug lords on communities and police officers. Visibility, trustworthiness and approachability of the police has been addressed and strengthened.
Mayor Mashaba said the war on drugs was a priority that all in the City should embrace and work towards realising its objectives of driving drugs out of the city.
Law enforcement authorities, service providers and substance abuse researchers were all in agreement that drug dependency, in all its forms, is a massive problem that creates serious health, social, legal, and economic problems for the City.
Ms Mpumi Tlou, a Social Worker from South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) Central said that they are excited about the launch of the centre as it will ease the patient load on SANCA, and that they look forward to strengthening the existing relationship with the City.
Mayor Mashaba said: “I am honoured to be with you today to launch yet another institution that will bring much-needed relief and hope to our residents. For long, our people have been suffering in silence. They have battled substance abuse for years. For whatever reason, residents battling substance abuse have not always had access to facilities like this one from which to seek meaningful treatment. They were simply left to fend for themselves. But help has come. With this facility, we usher in a new tomorrow filled with the hope and promise of a healthier and better life. This is the fulfilment of a promise we made to you; to restore your dignity so that you may lead an enriching life and become active and productive citizens of our City.”
MMC for Health and Social Development, Dr Phalatse said she was excited to be in Alexandra, an area where she worked at as a medical doctor before she decided to venture into politics.
“I made a promise when I entered the world of politics that I will not forget the community of Alexandra, because they need all the services they can get. We are glad today to add value in this township by improving the services in this clinic. Substance abuse is a huge problem in Alexandra, and if you walk around during the day you will see a lot of young people roaming the streets, because they are not in school or working. As a result many of them end up using drugs,” said Phalatse adding that as government they cannot sit back but needed to act.

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