Zululand Observer - Monday

Drug rehab centre goes back to basics

- Conelia Harry

INDIVIDUAL­S involved in the proposed establishm­ent of a drug rehabilita­tion centre in Brackenham have gone back to the drawing board after residents living in the vicinity raised concerns.

Following reports of the centre having officially opened at the end of January, organisers convened a meeting earlier this month to discuss their future plans and to inform the public that no operations were underway at the facility at this stage.

The premises are currently being used for Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) weekly meetings hosted by the ‘New Beginnings’ group. Project leader Jayce Moodley said the intention of the rehabilita­tion facility is to help individual­s battling substance abuse problems.

‘Everyone knows the background of this property - it was known as a ‘drug house’ and was burnt down, but I rebuilt it with the purpose of opening a centre to help others overcome addiction.

‘I know the pain of having a child on drugs and this is why I wanted to open the centre to help others in the community.

‘Drugs are a major issue and affecting many households and after visiting a centre in Pietermari­tzburg, I wanted to roll out the same concept here.

‘We started with AA and NA meetings with future plans to open a rehab centre, but we are still in the process,’ said Moodley.

While there was mixed reactions and the community agreed there was a need for a rehab centre, they raised concerns over their safety and security being compromise­d.

Representi­ng the Brackenham Civic Community Watch (BCCW), Ray Govender said while the rehab centre is a good idea, one has to consult the legal process, bylaws and rules and regulation­s first.

Resident Ivan Naidoo said it was a noble idea, especially in addressing social ills.

‘I want us to come together as a community to find a solution to the problem. It is evident that this centre has not yet opened, but is just a venue for AA and NA meetings.

‘This is not a problem, but when it starts to infringe on the rights and privacy of others, then there is a problem,’ he said.

Naidoo advised organisers to engage with a profession­al to take them through the process and seek the approval of various department­s.

‘Let us address all our concerns at the correct forum, which will be during the Environmen­tal Impact Assessment process.’

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