Occupational Therapy Students Fight Drug Abuse in MariannridgeGeneral

Occupational Therapy Students.Occupational Therapy Students.

Final year UKZN College of Health Sciences’ Occupational Therapy students are working with the Mariannridge Community outside Durban to fight drug abuse and addiction amongst high school learners.

The students, Ms Ntombikayise Shange, Ms Claudia Menezes and Ms Nomfundo Mlaba with the assistance of Mr Zwakele Shezi, a Speech Language Pathology student, held a drug-awareness day for Mariannridge High School learners.

‘Our aim is to build insight about the dangers of substance abuse, to provide scholars with better ways to deal with life problems, to inspire young substance abusers to strive for a better future and to motivate them to change before it is too late,’ Shange said.

A community member Mr Ralph, known as “Uncle Ralph,”said they appreciated the assistance of the students in fighting drug addiction in their community.

‘As a community we are excited to be working with the students. They have helped us to set up a number of projects that will assist in the fight against drug abuse within the community,’ said “Uncle Ralph”.

The students have set up support groups for families affected by drug abuse, and established a “Rising above Addiction” group which is aimed at assisting recovering substance abusers.

The students initially did a community-needs assessment and found that substance abuse was a major problem affecting the whole area. In order to deal with this issue, they decided to host a Drug Awareness Day and target the local high school. ‘We believed that interventions need to begin at a school level,’ said Shange.

The students provided an informative and entertaining programme for the learners.  The learners gained insight and learnt about the realities of drug addiction told by the recovering drug addicts.  They were also given information about the different programmes available from government that deals with drug related projects, such as those provided by the Department of Social Development, Department of Health and Department of Education.

Nombuso Dlamini