GAUTENG OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE

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Recovering substance user Khomotso Malatji during an event against drug abuse and illicit trafficking at Soshanguve Secure Centre

By Lorato Modisenyane

  • The Gauteng Department of Social Development and stakeholders gathered at the Soshanguve Secure Care Centre to observe the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADAIT).
  • This year’s theme, “Evidence is Clear, Invest in Prevention,” highlights the importance of evidence-based strategies for prevention and treatment to achieve a drug-free society.
  • Khomotso Malatji, a recovering substance user, shared her inspiring journey of overcoming addiction and rebuilding her life, underscoring the event’s focus on resilience and community support.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development, alongside other stakeholders, convened at the Soshanguve Secure Care Centre in Tshwane to observe the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADAIT). Annually commemorated on June 26th by the United Nations General Assembly, IDADAIT underscores global efforts to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking. This year’s theme, “Evidence is Clear, Invest in Prevention,” emphasises evidence-based strategies aimed at prevention and treatment to achieve a drug-free society.

Substance abuse presents a complex socio-economic challenge, necessitating a unified, multi-stakeholder approach as outlined in the National Drug Master Plan. Governments, organisations, communities, and individuals worldwide unite on this day to raise awareness about the dangers associated with illicit drugs.

At the heart of the event was Khomotso Malatji, a 30-year-old mother of three and a recovering substance user from Soshanguve. She courageously shared her journey, starting with her introduction to drugs in 2014 amid personal hardships and trauma. “Drugs strip you of your dignity and rob you of family and trust,” she reflected, highlighting the devastating impacts of addiction.

Malatji’s turning point came when faced with life-threatening health issues, prompting her to make a decisive change. “It’s crucial to cease all substance use and not replace one addiction with another,” she advised, speaking from her own experiences. Today, Malatji is focused on rebuilding her life and pursuing her dream of becoming a social worker, despite educational setbacks. Supported by her family, she has remained drug-free for over a year, determined to create a brighter future for herself and her children.

Her story serves as a beacon of hope and resilience, demonstrating the transformative power of personal determination and community support in overcoming addiction and rebuilding a life of purpose.

Picture taken by: Takalani Bulasigobo

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