Our efforts to reduce the harm caused by Nyaope to addicts, their families and communities have been significantly boosted. Supported by WITS University psychology masters students, the collaboration seeks to better understand the issues that lead to addiction and how best to treat those affected.
Using workshops we are able to bring together those affected and in the process explore the drivers of their addiction. These workshops also allow us to educate users of the dangers of their addiction, what they need to do to kick their habit and most importantly what support is available to them. Families are also included in these sessions so that they can better understand how their loved ones became addicts and what they can do to help them overcome these issues.
Furthermore many addicts die unnecessarily from manageable diseases like HIV/AIDS and TB. This phenomena is however relatively easy to resolve with the right help and support from the addicts family and the communities in which they live. After all help is widely available to those who know it exists and how to access it.
Relapse prevention is also addressed in these workshops with the road from user to non-user being a long and arduous one. Workshop attendees are made aware of the how arduous the journey can be and what is needed to provide the right environment to overcome the addiction.This includes integrating the user back into the community through understanding, guidance and acceptance without which users will undoubtedly relapse.
The workshops are also used to build networks that not only support and help each other to change the lives of addicts, but which can also help to stop others from experimenting with drugs. Getting the message across that drugs are harmful is not always easy and it does require an educated and persistent approach to the problem.