An organisation to fight drug abuse in Hillbrow and surrounding areas has been formed. The group, called the Hillbrow Drugs Action Committee is a brainchild of SANCA Phoenix House and Lutheran Community Outreach Foundation.
The organisation is set to focus on training, advocacy and awareness campaigns. It will include various stakeholders like schools, NGOs, property companies, SAPS and members of society.
SANCA’s director Adrie Vermeulen says the committee will operate within the framework of the national drugs strategy. “Substance abuse has been a problematic issue for many years in Hillbrow. It has a direct link to many other crimes, it is therefore essential to stimulate the fight against it. The committee will focus on creating awareness campaigns all over Hillbrow through door to door visits in flats. Counsellors will explain to people the dangers of drugs and how to get help. There is a diversion programme for people addicted to drugs, the first project of this kind. It will go all the way to change the substance abuse stigma,” explains Vermeulen.
Makhulong A Matala, a subsidiary of Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) supports the objectives of the committee. Says subsidiary community development officer Sifiso Ginindza: “We fully support the committee and are willing to be part of it. The reduction of substance abuse in Hillbrow augurs well with us as a housing company. If the tenant has drug addiction problems, through this collaboration the tenant can be referred to rehabilitation programmes.”
Johan Robyn, counsellor at the Lutheran Foundation adds that 26 counsellors will be trained to do assessment, counselling, drugs tests and rehab referrals. “This committee must focus on training, advocacy and awareness campaigns. We urge the broader community to get involved.”
Michelle Peter, executive manager for residential care, education, and skills development for MES, an NGO based in Hillbrow, adds that the committee will have an impact in the fight against substance abuse. “Through cooperation, we can fight substance abuse,” she adds.
Hillbrow police spokesperson Sgt Jenny Pillay says the station supports the committee. “We support all crime prevention initiatives and we are excited to be part of this initiative. It is important to create awareness about drug abuse through a coordinated effort.”
For substance abuse problems contact Alcoholics Anonymous SA on 011 436-0116 or SANCA 011 482-7187.