Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative Launched at UKZN
An Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative (ADSAI) has been launched by UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme in partnership with South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD) and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development (KZN DSD).
The launch follows a preliminary workshop held on the Westville campus with staff and students to increase the awareness of:
- responsible use of alcohol
- drinking and driving
- provision of effective interventions and strategies to address drug and substance abuse at UKZN
- strategic partnerships with organisations that deal with drug and substance abuse.
According to statistics provided by the Risk Management Division (RMS) at UKZN regarding incident-based reports for 2014 and 2015, there was a total of 44 reported drug and substance-related incidents at the University. The primary drugs used were cannabis (dagga) and cocaine. In addition, alcohol-induced misdemeanors were also reported.
Offering their support for the initiative, Mr Prinithun Hardeo of Risk Management Services (RMS) and Mr Radesh Byroo of the KZN Department of Social Development, pledged support from their organisations to ensure UKZN become a drug-free university. ‘While the increase in substance abuse is concerning, recognition of the problem is encouraging in tackling it decisively,’ said Hardeo. ‘The RMS team fully supports the launch and will strive to ensure its success.’
Guest speaker Mr Ayo Fatokun discussed the medical component to drug addiction, saying that addicts were often judged at face value, without consideration of the psycho-social mind-set of the drug user. ‘While the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, drug addiction is a disease of the brain that compels a person to use drugs. An initiative such as the ADSAI launch is imperative if we are to reach out to users to provide genuine support.’
The Co-ordinator of the UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme, Ms Nomonde Mangantolo, encouraged both students and staff to make use of the services UKZN has to offer, ‘Students are our future intellectuals and social leaders and the aim of the ADSAI launch is to ensure that they graduate alive. Students especially, must feel comfortable to enter any of our campus HIV/AIDS Support Unit (CHASU) offices and be confident that they will get the help and support they need.
For more information or assistance, contact the following UKZN Health Promoters at their CHASU offices:
- Pietermaritzburg campus: Bawinile Mngoma
firstname.lastname@example.org – 033 260 6059
- Howard College campus: Noxolo Batembu
email@example.com / 031 260 8661
- Westville campus: Eleanor Langley
Langley@ukzn.ac.za / 031 260 2132
- Edgewood campus: Kenneth Qalaza
firstname.lastname@example.org / 031 260 8283
- Medical School campus: Lindiwe Mbhele
email@example.com / 031 260 1670