Committed to fighting drug and alcohol abuse

Wedge Gardens is available to do drug and alcohol abuse awareness talks at schools and in workplaces.

The Sanca-affiliated rehabilitation centre, situated close to both Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, offers a diversion programme for employees whose work is being affected by addiction issues and who may thus need counselling or rehabilitation. This is in addiction to a full range of holistic substance abuse treatment programmes.

Always ready to help raise addiction awareness, Wedge Gardens participated in Rothe Plantscapers’ recent employee wellness day.

“We sent two staff members to talk about addiction and abuse, as well as what those affected can do to get help for either themselves or family members,” says Wedge Gardens’ Adel Grobbelaar.

Promotional material was also handed out.

For further information, call Gardens’ Adel at 011 430 0320.

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June 26 highlights International Day against Drug Abuse

Take a moment on June 26 to consider how drug abuse has the potential to tear apart families and even communities.

Since 1987, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking has taken place on June 26 to raise awareness of this debilitating social problem.

Wedge Gardens rehabilitation centre, situated just outside of Johannesburg, supports the Listen First initiative. Its aim is to get adults to listen to children and youth because this is seen as the first step to helping them grow up healthy and safe.

Wedge Gardens social worker Karen Griessel explains that Listen First in an initiative of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.

“Conversation about drug use must start with children and youth to educate them about the realities they will face: on the playground, in their communities and later, even in their workplace,” says Karen.

Talk often and listen openly, she advises. “Conversations between individuals, schools and communities need to be promoted. Listen with an open mind, ready to learn and grow. Handle conversations respectfully, without judgement, assumption or bias.”

The Listen First project looks at demand and supply statistics, human rights, emerging challenges, new psychoactive drugs and national sentencing policies, with an obvious focus on prevention and treatment.

Karen says that last year 190 000 people died of drugs globally. This figure does not take into consideration the health implications – like TB, HIV and hepatitis – of those using drugs or the increased prevalence of drug trafficking and drug-related gangsterism.

According to the World Drug Report, synthetic and psychoactive drugs being spread through modern cybercrime and dark-net business deals is of concern. Development, health, peace and human rights are being attacked on a severe scale due to drug use worldwide.

* Wedge Gardens can be reached at 011 430 0320. You can also ‘like’ Wedge Gardens on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WedgeGardensTreatmentCentre) or follow them on Twitter (@WedgeGardens).

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Addiction is a family disease

The lies and deception that go hand-in-hand with the lifestyle of an addict or alcoholic are a breeding ground for conflict and arguments, says addiction specialist Karen Griessel, who is a social worker at Wedge Gardens just outside of Johannesburg.

“The stress, anxiety and negativity of those living with the addict or alcoholic are severely unhealthy and have far-reaching psychological and emotional consequences. Unemployment, job instability, late nights out, going AWOL, and bringing with them a trail of damage and abnormal behaviour leaves those at home angry, frustrated and without trust or faith,” says Karen.

Those left behind need to take on extra roles and responsibilities to try and fill the gap, which again leads to feelings of resentment. “All the emotions connected to the situation are dark and dull, making for a very unhappy family with altered and damaged dynamics,” she says.

Theft is a sure symptom of substance abuse. She explains that valuables are stolen to sell or pawn to get the next fix because nothing matters more than the drug or the alcohol. If the person struggling with addiction is a breadwinner it has a snowball effect on the family system, with basic needs often not being met.

“The greatest victims are often children who are neglected. Basic functions like preparing meals, hygiene and school work are forgotten because priorities become corrupted. Drugs and crime go hand-in-hand and drug dealing and using with other addicts in the home can put the children in a dangerous position.

“Long term, children who grow up in households with addict or alcoholic parents are greatly at risk of a compromised future due to delay in development, overall health, wellbeing and self-confidence.

“Sadly, these children may end up with substance abuse problems too because of the severe emotional and psychological pain they suffered.”

She says that shame and regret often lead to the addict parent overcompensating or letting things slide. This sets a child up to fail in the real world because they don’t learn to predict limits and required responses.

“The sad part is that often those suffering from drug and alcohol dependency problems don’t even know what they say or do when under the influence and will deny or actually not even remember the damage caused.

“On the other side of the pendulum you get the family member, who we call the enabler, who protects the addict from their consequences because they ‘love’ them. However, enablers perpetuate the cycle because the addict does not experience the harmful effects of their addictive behaviour.

“Another term we refer to is co-dependency, which means a dysfunctional relationship of extreme emotional or financial reliance on an addict or alcoholic who requires support. The family member without the addiction finds their self-worth depends on their role in providing care for their addicted loved one.

“The sad truth is that if you become a slave to a substance, that substance takes the brain hostage and the addict loses the power of choice. This is why it is essential to remember that addiction is a disease and sufferers need professional help,” says Karen.

* Wedge Gardens can be reached at 011 430 0320. You can also ‘like’ Wedge Gardens on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WedgeGardensTreatmentCentre) or follow them on Twitter (@WedgeGardens)

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