It is with great shock that we, as the Concerned Young People of SA read that the Cabinet and the Central Drug Authority (CDA) have agreed to use ‘harm reduction’ within its new National Drug Master Plan of 2013-2017. Even though the term ‘harm reduction’ looks well on paper and in theory, we that work daily helping drug addicts towards freedom from drugs, have the following information to share. Not long ago, there was a country wide outcry against ‘harm reduction’ from different organisations, individuals and we, as the communities against the implementation of ‘harm reduction’. We have stated why we believe ‘harm reduction’ to be rather a harmful promotion of drug abuse. (Harm reduction also implies the issuing of free, less harmful drugs and needles to addicts.) The points of concern in our appeal against ‘harm reduction’ implementation, was:
- Is the long-term free provision of ‘less harmful’ drugs such as methadone (at the taxpayers’ expense) a reasonable decision for the South African context of overburdened health care facilities?
- Handing out of free needles to drug addicts, means more needles in circulation implying more chances to contract HIV and is therefore a greater hazard to the various communities.
- Misuse of drugs. Drug addicts very often have a preference for their choice of drugs. If you would issue them with methadone, they will exchange that on the black market for their choice drug, or use it together with other drugs.
- Building of needle parks and places where drug addict can get drugs, will encourage other types of crime to settle in those areas. The question comes to mind, have our communities and school principals been briefed regarding this free issuing of drugs in their midst?
- Some pharmaceutical firms and individuals will make a huge profit, having a large percentage of the youth on a ‘chronic’ drug.
The question arises, why do we want to issue free drugs to addicts, while rehabs and detox centres are struggling to survive financially?
Where can we find leaders for who we can vote, who believe that drug addicts can overcome their addiction?We, as the Concerned Young People of South Africa, are currently busy reaching out to drug addicts all over the country and provide them with support to overcome the habit. We simply can’t believe that the road of ‘harm reduction’ will bear good fruit to the youth of SA. If you have problems with drugs, know that you can overcome and start a new page in your life. You can gladly contact our helpline at 032 481 5742.