On June 29, Livelyhood Horizon united with residents at Phefeni Recreational Centre to address the pressing issues of alcohol and substance abuse on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The event aimed to honor victims and survivors of substance and alcohol abuse while raising awareness about community involvement in eradicating drugs. Notable local organisations advocating against substance abuse, including the City of Johannesburg, the Department of Social Development, Bheki Myende Foundation, Sisonke Gender Justice, Gender Based Violence brigades, and the Gauteng Department of Health, joined forces to deliver impactful presentations, keeping residents informed and instilling hope in those affected by drugs.
Stanley Mollson, the communications officer of Livelyhood Horizon and a recovering drug user, emphasised the organisation’s commitment to substance abuse awareness and preventive programs. Through this initiative, they sought to highlight the dangers of drug use within the community. Established in 2017, Livelyhood Horizon assists drug addicts by assessing and placing them in various rehabilitation facilities they collaborate with.
Observing that children as young as 15 years old have been exposed to drugs during their community projects in local schools, Mollson emphasised the importance of knowledge in combatting this issue. Encouraging parents to attend events like these, he highlighted the need for information to monitor their children’s behaviour effectively. Engaging with the community and providing vital information can strengthen the continuous fight against drugs. Additionally, the organisation offers the assistance of psychiatrists for attendees who wish to enrol in rehabilitation centres.
Mollson expressed the urgency of communities and governments working together, emphasising the prevalence of people dedicating their lives to drugs. Recognising the direct and indirect impact of drug use on society, he stressed the importance of spreading awareness and assisting those in need.
Mbali Soga, a recovering addict from Livelyhood Horizon, shared her experience of starting drug use at 15. She highlighted peer pressure, family background, and mental health as factors that can drive young individuals towards substances. Reflecting on her recovery journey, Soga acknowledged her decisions’ profound impact on her loved ones. She credited Livelyhood Horizon for transforming her life through the unwavering support she received upon entering their facility.
The collaborative efforts of organisations like Livelyhood Horizon and the participation of individuals seeking change pave the way for a united fight against drug abuse. By spreading information and fostering support networks, communities can make a significant difference in combating this pressing issue.
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Photo: Supplied by Soweto Urban