KZN STANDS UP TO DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
By: Bliss Ndapasowa
“Alcohol and drug abuse are responsible for the abuse women and children are subjected to”.
These were KwaZulu-Natal Mayor, James Nxumalo’s sentiments as the eThekwini municipality launched this year’s Anti-Substance Forum at the Durban Exhibition Centre.
The launch, driven by the theme, ‘United in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking,’ coincided with the 16 Days of Activism Against Abuse of Women And Children
Strategies to combat crime are to be assisted by the revised National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017, previously launched in 2010 by President Jacob Zuma in the province. Unlike the initial plan that mainly highlighted efforts to curb the crisis, the revised plan seeks to provide frameworks for commissioning research, monitoring and evaluation of drug abuse trends and promotion of current good practises to reduce harm and address social ills.
Ms Lethiwe Ndlovu from KZN Community Development Activities said that this would be effected by targeting the youth, and community education including modalities such as Community Dialogues and Sport Primary Prevention programmes, targeting identified emerging problems amongst other relevant mechanisms.
MEC for Department of Social Development Mrs W. G Thusi, said the province had produced rather embarrassing drug related cases, citing the June drug laboratory bust in Kloof, and Chatsworths reputation as the existing drug capital in KZN, hence the need to step up.
“We intend to send a message to druglords, thus launching this forum is part of the plan,” she said.
The Anti-Substance Abuse Forum is set to add to the existing drug abuse rebuttal mechanisms, namely the Qalakabusha Social Intervention Plan which saw 44 young people being rehabilitated and reunited with their families.
Nxumalo further added that realisation of these goals depends on the collective participation of societal bodies.
“In order to achieve this we need a hands on approach involving all stakeholders,” he said.
Several entities have taken on the mandate to ensure functionality of the forum, namely Durban University of Technology, Diakonia, UNISA, Durban Chamber, Emmanuel Cathedral, SANCA, and municipality departments. Also, several nomination forms have been sent to various organisations to form the technical steering committee for the forum.