29/06/2012. From left to right Russel Chabangu, Itumeleng Shaboane,Themba Sibanda and Lucas Ngobeni, Nyaope recoveries all attended the Gauteng community saftey to unveil the Nyaope Rehabilitation youth in Hammanskraal. Picture: Matlhodi Madibana

It is possible to overcome drug addiction and families of nyaope addicts in Hammanskraal are relieved that their loved ones have received the necessary support to do so.

And from this week, rehabilitated addicts who stay on the programme, which was launched by the Department of Community Safety, can benefit from an employment opportunity.

The pilot programme, which was started after a visit by Gauteng MEC of Community Safety Faith Mazibuko to the area in October, aims to help those who have been through a tough rehabilitation programme get useful work experience.

A relieved mother whose child has benefited said she was proud of her son for overcoming his addiction to nyaope (a mixture of dagga and heroin).

Rose Chabangu said her son’s addiction was a big problem which had led to disagreements in the family. “I am very happy with the path he has chosen. I just hope he and the rest of the guys who went to rehab never relapse because there is no future there,” she said.

Chabangu said she wanted to see nyaope eradicated from the community.

According to Thapelo Moiloa, spokesman for the Department of Community Safety, nyaope has become a severe problem among young people and recently addicts have started adding antiretroviral drugs (ARV’s) to the nyaope mix.

“This is a pilot study, comprising 20 rehabilitated addicts. They will be employed at the National Youth Service for 12 months and will receive a stipend of R1 100 per month.

“If the programme is successful, the department will continue to rehabilitate and employ drug addicts,” he said.

Assisting with the programme are Men as Safety Promoters

. Provincial chairman George Ishmail said it was important to encourage the youth and empower families to be a safety net for recovering drug addicts.

“We also encourage the community to expose drug dealers,” said Ishmail.

He said they use a brotherly approach to work with the addicts on a personal level. “We have just trained a new team in the community that is ready to go out and serve the rest of the community.”

Some of the recovering addicts were upbeat about the prospect of a drug-free future, and to be able to give back to their community.

Lucas Ngobeni said his family is ecstatic about the turn-around they are seeing in his life. He said this was partly due to the fact that he was taken to rehab but relapsed the first time. Ngobeni, who has been using drugs for almost 13 years, said he had wasted his parents’ money

but that now his mother was proud of him.

He said rehab had helped him. After realising the dangers that the drugs posed to his health and the failure to achieve his goals were enough motivation for him to stop using. “I wasted precious time which I could have used to become somebody in society. I always strived for great things but because of the drugs I could not achieve anything,” said Ngobeni.

He pleaded with the community to support those who were addicted to nyaope through their difficult journey, and also assist in keeping them occupied to ensure they are not tempted to relapse.