By Matlaba Machete

  • South Africa faces a significant challenge with high rates of alcohol and drug abuse, driven by socio-economic factors such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality.
  • The Department of Social Development is actively working to combat this crisis through various initiatives, including rehabilitation, aftercare programmes, and counselling services.
  • Success stories like that of Lindiwe Motloung demonstrate the transformative power of these programmes, offering hope and a path to recovery for those affected by substance abuse.

South Africa is grappling with a high prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse, driven by socio-economic factors such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality. With the rate of substance abuse growing, the Department of Social Development has been on a mission to curb the rising numbers through programmes focused on substance abuse, including rehabilitation, aftercare programmes, and counselling services.

Recent reports indicate that about 13% of South Africans have used drugs in their lifetime, with 7.5% having used drugs in the past year (Biomed Central). This high prevalence is attributed to the increased availability and affordability of drugs, driven by factors such as international drug trafficking and local economic conditions.

Lindiwe Motloung, a beneficiary of the department’s programmes, is on a journey of self-restoration after eight years of using hard substances. After years of using crystal meth and “ndanda,” Lindiwe was desperate for change but didn’t know where to start due to a lack of access to information.

However, when her mother’s friend provided her with information about free rehabilitation centres, Lindiwe seized the opportunity. “When a friend of my mother heard I was looking for free rehab centres, she recommended a few programmes. I immediately started my counselling sessions with the Gauteng Department of Social Development in Houtkoop, and then I was referred to Bophelong’s service point to verify that I was ready for rehabilitation,” Lindiwe explains.

Lindiwe spent four months in rehab while continuing her computer literacy course. After completing her rehabilitation, she finished the course at Dirang Ka Kagiso Child and Youth Care Centre.

“Being sober for eight months has given me the time to reflect on what I want to do with my life. I am now looking forward to furthering my studies in Human Resources at Sedibeng College,” she says.

Lindiwe’s story is a testament to the impact of the Department of Social Development’s substance abuse programmes. Through counselling, rehabilitation, and education, Lindiwe has been able to turn her life around and is now focused on building a brighter future.

South Africa continues to face a significant challenge with substance abuse, but stories like Lindiwe’s highlight the potential for recovery and self-restoration through dedicated support and accessible programmes. The Department of Social Development remains committed to addressing this issue and helping individuals like Lindiwe achieve lasting change.

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