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By Marizka Coetzer


Ex-soccer star takes on youth drug issues

Ex-soccer star Bernard Parker joins Clinix Health Group to raise awareness about youth drug issues in Mamelodi.

The Clinix Health Group teamed up with former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Bernard Parker recently at Mams Mall in Mamelodi as part of its awareness campaign on substance use disorders and addiction.

Parker said the campaign showed how youth involvement in sports has associations with substance use and addiction.

“With so many social pressures and personal responsibilities that come with success as a footballer, with access to a lot of money and sudden fame, it can be so easy to lose focus and derail. This can also have adverse effects on your mental health,” he said.

Increase in drug use in Tshwane

Clinix chief corporate services officer Matshepo Majola said reports by doctors, clinical associates and social workers from the University of Pretoria in recent years show a steady increase in harmful drug use in Tshwane.

“There is a major shortage of services in the city to help people who use drugs and struggle with addiction.

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“We would like to encourage those who need assistance to contact or visit our hospitals. Our professional medical teams are ready to assist in any way they can,” he said.

Majola said Clinix Health Group opened the Cullinan Wellness Hospital in 2021. It is a voluntary psychiatric facility that offers psychosocial and health services including counselling, social work, psychological and occupational therapy to help decrease drug problems and addiction.

The hospital also accommodates patients from Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West.

Big drug problem in SA

Clinix Health Group brand manager Thokozile Masondo said there was a big drug problem in the country.

“There is help available. People must seek help,” she said.

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Masondo said Clinix Health Group offers intense rehabilitation and skills development programmes to get recovering addicts back on their feet.

“For most of them it starts with mental health. ‘I don’t work, I don’t have money’ and then they start drinking and before you know it, they are taking nyaope to subside the pain,” she explained.

Masondo said they work with a group of social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists to root out the drug problem.

“There are many social issues, crime, unemployment and financial struggles that surround the big drug problem. It’s so many things,” she said.

Creating awareness about drug problems

A Mamelodi resident said it was good that an effort was being made to create awareness about the drug problems in the area.

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“Look at these kids buy alcohol and it’s not even lunchtime yet,” she said, pointing to passers-by.

“My sister’s son started using drugs after his mother died. He is still using drugs and can’t stop,” she added.

She said the family has given up on him.

“I don’t know why these kids do drugs, but it’s wrong,” she said.

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