Nyaope addicts on Brown Street in the CBD. Picture: Rapula Moatshe

RAPULA MOATSHE

The City of Tshwane embarked on a media tour in the CBD on Wednesday as part of the substance use intervention.

The tour was led by MMC for Heatlh Sakkie du Plooy, who was accompanied by City officials and representatives from the University of Pretoria.

The University had partnered with the City on an anti-drug initiative called community oriented substance use programme (Cosup)

The programme seeks to engage with people who use drugs in the community before their use of drugs has become a serious problem.

UP professor Jannie Hugo said: "For years we have tried the war on drugs and it had done nothing to reduce the level of drug use and some would say it has actually increased some of the harms. So, we said let's look at the evidence, consult experts and let's do something that will make a difference, even if it may seem controversial."

The team also visited some drugs hotspots in the City's CBD and Marabastad, where they interacted with drug addicts. 

They came across a group of addicts in Brown Street, doing drugs in full view of passers-by.

A recovering nyaope addict explains how he beat drugs. Video: Rapula Moatshe


Du Plooy appealed that they should not be neglected because of their unacceptable behaviour. 

"We wanted to introduce other people to them and appeal that they accept them as human beings.  

Sometimes we tend to neglect them because they are not clean and they don't smell good. They are human beings and this is the message that we are tryng to put across. We would like to motivate people in the City to link up with them, the drug users. 

Pick him up and become his friend and become support to him. Don't pay for his rehab, just be a friend,"he said.

He said the programme started in 2016 and had almost 3000 people, who enrolled in it.

At least 450 of them were on medication "to assist them to reduce and stop their nyaope use".

There were also a number of people employed or receiving training to help them earn a livelihood, he said.

Du Plooy said the programme comprised of peer workers, who usually distributed exchange needles to the addicts  "They make contacts with these guys. Through them many of them have heard about Cosup,"he said. 

Others who needed help come to the City's drop-in centre on Pretorius Street, where they were given food and were able to take a bath.
"While they are there we tell them about the programme,"Du Plooy said.