Drug addict receives lifeline at rehab centre

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Tshepo Seame

At the age of 23, Tshepo Seame was at the peak of his career and one of the youngest IT system engineers at the company he worked for. However, his hunger for success saw him losing everything he had worked so hard for as he became addicted to drugs.

Although his future looked bright to the outside world, he was not content with what he had and the more successful he became, the more drugs he used.

“I couldn’t handle situations and everything baffled me and I got excited about anything extreme. It didn’t help that the circle of friends I surrounded myself with were a bad influence. They introduced me to drugs and my life became centred around drugs,” Seame told SAnews on Tuesday, the eve of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

I went to dark places

Seame admitted that the drugs did not love him back, as “they took me to dark places and made me lose my loved ones”.

After struggling with the addiction for the past nine years, Seame said he does not blame anyone for his actions but himself. He said he knew he was the only one with the power to reclaim his life back.

Late last year, Seame checked himself in at the Life Recovery Centre in Randfontein, Johannesburg, and for the first time in years, he became hopeful and optimistic about the future.

Funded by the Gauteng Department of Social Development to the tune of over R56 million, Life Recovery Centre renders holistic treatment interventions to service users and their families to mitigate the social, psychological and health impact of substance abuse.

The facility, which was officially opened by Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, in 2016, has a suitably qualified multi-disciplinary team providing services to persons with substance use disorders.

It also renders a 24-hour service which currently has 306 beneficiaries under the in-patient treatment and 44 in the halfway house programme.

The in-patient programme provides a six-week treatment programme which includes detoxification, while the halfway house programme provides a six to 12 month residential substance abuse aftercare, and reintegration service.

Road to rehabilitation

Thanks to the services at the recovery centre, Seame is currently on the road to recovery. He has been clean and sober for eight months.

“I’m so thankful to the social workers and counsellors at the centre for being patient with me, because when I started it was hard, but they encouraged me and gave me hope and strength to stay clean and sober. Through their assistance, I’ve accepted who I am and learned to be grateful for what I have. Unlike when I first checked in at the centre, I’m now ready to face the outside world without any fear,” Seame said.

While helping addicts like Seame recover from addiction, the centre also provides them with computer skills.

In partnership with the MTN Foundation, Bogopane-Zulu handed over a multimedia centre at the recovery centre on Tuesday, ahead of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking commemorated on 26 June 2019.

The multimedia empowers service-users who are currently undergoing substance use disorder treatment with accredited computer training. The MTN Foundation has invested a total of R750 000 towards the renovation of a library and the building of the 22-seater multimedia centre.

It has an interactive white board, printer, teacher station and internet connectivity. The foundation will also provide 20 Gigabytes every month for the next 24 months for internet connectivity.

Seame said the computer skills will come in handy when applying for jobs and he will use the multimedia centre to reach out to other people who are battling with the addiction.

“It might take some time to get a job due to the bad record I have, but I will use this opportunity to reach out to individuals who are battling with substance abuse by volunteering my services at the centre. I can turn my life around and do the right thing, as long as I’m sober,” said an optimistic Seame.

He urged substance abusers and recovering addicts to make use of the rehabilitation centres, as the services offered are very helpful.

“There is life and hope in recovery, please check yourselves in rehab centres. Take it easy and one day at a time.”

Government interventions to prevent substance abuse

The health and socio-economic consequences of substance use, abuse and dependency, particularly the abuse of alcohol and trafficking in drugs, undermine good governance and have a negative impact on the environment.

Globally, South Africa is one of the countries hardest hit by the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse. The Department of Social Development works in partnership with NGOs, other government departments and civil society to educate communities about the dangers of drugs. The department also implements the Ke-Moja Program to school children and out of school youth.

The National Drug Master Plan is a national blueprint for preventing and reducing alcohol and substance abuse under the leadership of the Central Drug Authority. – SAnews.gov.za

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