Working with Nyaope & Other Drug Addicts

The onset of the COVID pandemic found us rendering services we had always thought outside of our normal interests. That realisation took us down a very different path, which we are only now beginning to appreciate how important these new services are in harm reduction!

Where did it start?

Waste pickers and those from impoverished neighbourhoods were in many cases left high and dry when the pandemic lockdown came. School children who relied on creches and school feeding programmes were no longer receiving a meal every day, whilst waste pickers were no longer being supported by residents in affluent areas and local businesses that had been forced to close. Waste pickers, the pariah of society, were also being shunned by the local community who regard them as stinky, filthy and the dregs of the earth.

To the rescue

Through the truly amazing efforts of THE ANGEL NETWORK SA and ATHOL CAN we were able to open “soup kitchens” in Alexandra, providing food for young children and the waste pickers. ATHOL CAN, in particular have been nothing short of a god send providing generous weekly grocery donations that has enabled us to feed hundreds of vulnerable and destitute community members every day.

The outcome

What we have been most grateful for is that through these kitchens we are now properly able to render Harm Reduction services and reach hundreds of nyaope, (a mixture of heroine, dagga and other harmful substances) addicted waste-pickers assisting them into rehab, reconnecting them with their families and also giving support to those not yet ready for in-patient treatment.

We are furthermore able to offer assistance to the family members of nyaope addicts in the form of counselling for family members, both with their addicted family member and for the addicted individual as well.

Raising awareness

As an organisation, it has become a priority of ours to highlight the cruel lynching’s, beatings and even deaths that Nyaope addicts fall victim to. As part of harm reduction work we are at the forefront of not only bringing an end to the murders and victimization of addicts but also to educate the community as whole on addiction and show them how they are needed in the fight against nyaope addiction but on how to go about it correctly and humanely.

However, education on drug and substance abuse has to start in the homes of addicts and recovering addicts before we can hope to educate the greater community and we are finally in a position to offer that service. In almost 100% of the homes of the addicts, trauma and bewilderment is experienced by the addict’s family members who are at a loss on how to deal with the addicts actions and the “harm” perpetuated on the family and community.

Through dialogue, facilitation, therapy and counselling we are now able to educate the wider community and that is what will help us to win the battle against nyaope addiction.

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