As of the 31st October South Africa`s 2019-2024 National Drug Masterplan was finally approved and from what we could glean at this years National Conference of Drug and Substance Abuse and Family Intervention the inclusion of family and community in the rehabilitation process is now at the forefront.
Addressing delegates from all over the world Hon. Mr Mondli Gungubele, Chairperson of portfolio Committee for Social Development, said that the era of “shooting first and aiming later” has come to an end. Interventions and programmes relating to drug and substance abuse have to have impact and this is what has been neglected in the past.
Over the decades millions have been pumped into campaigns and interventions that simply do not work and yet no one has questioned why they are not working. The same measures have been used time and time again whilst stakeholders waited with bated breath for different results.
The fact that government realizes this and seeks to “aim first and then shoot” means we can all finally expect change. As an organisation we are thrilled because we are strongly advocating that schools stop looking to “once-off” school talks and day long programmes to solve a problem that is fast becoming endemic in township schools. The age of getting a celeb to come tell you to say “NO” is dead and one can quite rightly wonder if it actually ever was all that effective.
We need long-term, sustainable programmes for the very severe drug problem most of our local schools are facing. These programmes also need buy-in and support from the families and communities that these schools based (reside) in.
In this the Fourth Industrial Revolution methods, language and mediums of communication have to change. Approaches to community problems have to be contextualised and work that pertains to the youth needs to be led and handled by the youth of that community. We plan to ensure that young Skhokho`s of the nation quite literally take their futures in their own hands.
How you ask? The age old adage on how you should teach people how to fish and not give them free fish has never been more apt. Our youth know better than anyone what leads to drug and substance abuse in their own respective communities and therefore it stands to reason that they also know how best to prevent and what interventions need to be implemented. As these solutions will be their own, they will sustain.
The first and possibly most significant preventative measure being our premise that you cannot tell anyone, especially children to say no if you do not have something good to replace it with.
Good does not require lots of money. Vuka Skhokho have proven this. Passion, determination and perseverance have gotten us this far. We cannot wait to see where they will take our new community Skhokho leaders.