News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
9 Jan 2018
5:44 am

Sharp increase in Tshwane drug abusers seeking help

Virginia Keppler

Since the launch of the Hopeline, the city has received hundreds of calls, all pleas for help by those affected by drug abuse.

Picture Thinkstock

The City of Tshwane is experiencing an overwhelming demand for help by drug addicts and their families. This demand has increased dramatically since the start of the festive season, right into January.

Since the launch of the Hopeline, the city has received hundreds of calls, all pleas for help by those affected by drug abuse.

City spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said Tshwane was aware of the growing number of calls over the festive season and was dealing with them as fast as possible.

However, due to the high numbers seeking help, state rehabilitation centres were packed to capacity and people had been put on waiting lists, or had to take part in a home-based rehabilitation programmes.

Hopeline had only two social workers who were working around the clock trying to help the substance abusers and their families.

A mother called The Citizen, crying that her son was blaming her for not helping him to get into a rehabilitation centre.

“I called Hopeline and was told a social worker would get in touch with me. “My son is experiencing withdrawal symptoms and he wants help. He is swearing at me, saying I do not want to help him, but there is nothing I can do for him now,” the woman said, crying.

She and her other children had been sleeping at a friend’s home since Sunday night be cause they feared for their lives.

Mgobozi said they would be looking into ways to build greater capacity to ensure that they accommodated all those who asked for help.

Hopeline is a drug and substance abuse line established to offer hope to drug users through an integrated approach.

It links all role players in the drug and substance abuse field and assists users with information and support related to services provided in the drug and substance abuse programme.

Hopeline was introduced a month before Police Minister Fikile Mbalula released the crime statistics showing a 3.9% increase in drug-related crimes for Tshwane.

The city, in partnership with external stakeholders, will strive to enable communities to achieve their true potential and reduce abuse of substances.

In July last year, the city signed 23 service level agreements with NPOs dealing with drugs and substance abuse.

“Our aim is to fight the drug problem while creating opportunities for employment and productivity across the city to employ our people so that they may live a better life and not be condemned to a life of poverty, or even death,” Mgobozi said.

He said they would soon announce the number of calls they had received and the number of patients placed in rehab centres, as well as those in home-based rehabilitation.

  • The contact number for Hopeline is 012-358-5001 and all those with drug problems are encouraged to make use of this platform.

Hope for Tshwane drug users

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.