An anti-drug movement has called on authorities recently to be less stringent when it comes to admitting nayope addicts into rehabilitation centres.
This follows an incident in which a rehabilitation centre turned away about 80 drug addicts from Soshanguve seeking professional help at the centre.
The incident happened on 28 July when the Clean Up Squad anti-drug movement transported the addicts seeking help from Mabopane Station to the Dr Fabian and Florence Ribeiro Treatment Centre in Cullinan.
In what appears to be a misunderstanding, The Clean Up Squad was under the impression that the centre would admit the addicts.
However, when they arrived at the centre in Cullinan, they were told that that was not the case.
“We are ashamed of the events that unfolded at the rehab centre,” said Clean Up Squad founder Khutsi Malala.
Malala said when the addicts presented themselves for rehab at the centre, they were told they must be accompanied by the police for admission.
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The Clean Up Squad was able to find police escort for the addicts to Cullinan.
The addicts arrived at the centre at around 15:00, but were told they could not be admitted because they had not been screened.
The centre management were reportedly eventually persuaded to allow access to addicts who signed a waiver, declaring they were admitted at their own risk.
Malala said they were surprised when they later learnt that police had been called to disperse addicts still waiting to sign the waiver.
Malala said his organisation was disappointed the centre turned away the addicts what was “an extreme emergency”.
Social development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza’s office, however, defended the move to turn away the addicts.
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Spokesperson Mbangwa Xaba said the addicts could not be admitted because they failed to follow the protocols designed to protect patients already in recovery in the centre.
“We advised the institution that the people could not be admitted that late without being properly processed in terms of the admission procedure,” he said.
“The risk was that these clients had not been clinically assessed or undergone the process of eliminating possibilities of communicable diseases as most addicts stay in the streets.”
Malala was hopeful that the addicts would still be screened and then taken to a place of safety.
“We hope that government can invite us to work with them and that it won’t be too late for addicts who are still optimistic about going to rehab,” he said.
“We fear for their lives and believe that if nothing is done urgently, some will get HIV or worse, die.”
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