It is small beginnings as the City of Tshwane, in partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), yesterday launched the HOPELINE contact centre to help residents affected by drugs in the city.
This is one of the city’s latest efforts to deal with drugs and substance abuse in the inner city of Pretoria.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga yesterday took the first call for assistance from a drug user as he sat in the office with only two desks and chairs, one computer and one telephone.
“HOPELINE is a drug and substance abuse line established to offer a lifeline to drug users through an integrated approach. It will link all stakeholders that play a role in the drug and substance abuse field and assist users with information and support related to services provided in the anti-drug and substance abuse programme,” Msimanga said.
The centre will also give drug users and their families the opportunity to get help through referral to rehabilitation services and counselling and to promote and strengthen working relations with stakeholders on drug and substance abuse programmes.
Msimanga said the line will also enable communities to anonymously report drug peddlers in and around the city.
He added that the DA-led multiparty administration fully appreciates the scourge of substance abuse and its effect on the city’s people.
“This is with particular respect to the increased use of nyaope and the ‘bluetooth’ method that has gripped our youth in the city,” Msimanga said.
In July this year, the city signed 23 service level agreements with NGOs dealing with drug and substance abuse.
“These NGOs received part of the R40 million from the city towards the fight against drugs,” the mayor said.
The contact number for HOPELINE is 012-358-5001.