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How drug addiction is perceived differently across all walks of life

22 June 2022 2:09 PM
Tags:
Drug addiction
Treatment
epidemic
Drug use

Refilwe Moloto spoke to the regional director of SA National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca) Brad Mears, and the co-founder of Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre Michael Wilson, about addiction across economic lines.

Drug addiction is a serious issue that affects people across different quarters of society.

It can ruin people’s health, livelihood and families.

But there are measures to manage this epidemic.

Refilwe Moloto spoke to the regional director of the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca) Brad Mears and the co-founder of Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre Michael Wilson about addiction across economic lines.

There are gaps in how we view drug abuse and addiction, which are perceived differently among social spaces.

Whether we use the name tik or crystal meth to refer to the same drug - can change how it is perceived.

But even greater than this gap in perception, there are gaps in policy and discussions around drug use according to Mears.

Where there are massive gaps is around policy, around determining the size of the epidemic and bringing the debate into the open… I think there are not enough voices being heard from people that are addicts and from people within government themselves. Government themselves is not united in its own approach.

Brad Mears, regional director of SA National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

Oftentimes when we look at addiction, the primary response is to criminalise and punish the user rather than finding ways to help the addict.

When addiction affects many people across the board, it is crucial to find broader solutions to help those who are suffering.

Drug use, because it spans across racial, economic, class and age barriers, we need solutions that are not defined necessarily in silos.

Michael Wilson, co-founder of Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre

People often use drugs recreationally or to deal with unfavourable life situations - as a means of coping.

Addiction is also often linked to trauma, and helping people heal from their trauma can help them to recover and heal.

Perceiving addiction as a criminal act rather than an illness can help people recover.

To find out more, listen to the full audio above.




22 June 2022 2:09 PM
Tags:
Drug addiction
Treatment
epidemic
Drug use

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