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Bellhaven harm reduction centre applauded
SOCIAL Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu has applauded eThekwini Municipality for the establishment of Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre, which has opened its doors to homeless people since lockdown level 3.

The centre, situated in Greyville, has assisted homeless people tackle drug dependency by providing them with a drug called methadone which helps those with an addiction to overcome their withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Minister Bogopane-Zulu congratulated eThekwini for the life-changing initative which is aligned to the National Drug Master Plan which aims to reduce supply and demand of drugs for non-medicinal use, increase harm reduction treatment approaches and prevent new drugs from entering the market.

“This Harm Reduction Centre has given homeless people who were drug users a second chance in life. It should also be applauded that this centre is working towards Sustainable Development Goal 11 which seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” she said.

Services at the Harm Reduction Centre are provided by various stakeholders which include non-governmental organisations and the Durban University of Technology. Services include testing for TB, HIV and Hepatitis.  Those who test positive are linked to care.  Other services are general wellness oversight by three registered nurses who work on a full-time basis at the centre, a private practice psychiatrist, a needle syringe programme, psycho-social services and Opioid Substitution Therapy programme run for injecting drug users.

The City’s Speaker, Councillor Weziwe Thusi said the Municipality is currently renovating the centre so that it fits its intended purpose. “This demonstrates the commitment of the Municipality to provide harm reduction services.  The centre will contribute to the national discussions which aim to address the use of harmful drugs. It is our responsibility to ensure that homeless people receive dignified healthcare and we recognised the need to continue with this programme because it has assisted many people,” she said.

Recovering drug addict Shane Mqadi said since joining the programme he has now regained his dignity. “People in the community now respect me and I am now able seek employment.  I have a new lease on life because I now have goals and priorities,” he said.

Silindile.Maluleka@durban.gov.za
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