Free State Govt. Commemorates International Overdose Awareness Day

South Africa: Deputy Minister of Department of Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and MEC for the Free State Department of Social Development Ms Motlagomang "Mamiki" Qabathe launched the Thusanang Shelter for victims of Gender Based Violence and Femicide.

South Africa: Deputy Minister of Department of Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and MEC for the Free State Department of Social Development Ms Motlagomang “Mamiki” Qabathe launched the Thusanang Shelter for victims of Gender Based Violence and Femicide.

On 31 August is International Overdose Awareness Day which is commemorated annually. In line with this campaign, an awareness session was held at the Lusaka Multi Purpose Centre in Qwaqwa, where a parent of a drug user who overdosed shared her experience. A drug overdose survivor also spoke about his experience in order to bring awareness and stop more from getting into drugs. The link between substance abuse and GBVF was also discussed.

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Overdose is a global problem on the rise. In a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2014, it was estimated that about one hundred and eighty-three people succumb to overdose drugs and abuse use of drugs in our communities.

Overdose is much more common with certain drugs and is especially common for opioids like Krestal, which is largely found in most communities around Free State, Nyaope, Whoonga and Unga. Because illicit drugs are unregulated, people often don’t know how much they are taking and can take too much and suffer the health consequences of an overdose, including death.

According to Harm Reduction International, “research indicates that overdose is a familiar issue for people who inject drugs, with many studies finding high levels of self-reported non-fatal overdoses or witnessed overdoses.”

The Deputy Minister educated participants about common and easily accessible perceived home remedies that lead to addiction and, eventually, substance abuse.

The MEC spoke about the importance of strengthening families to fight the social ills and highlighted the role of the Department of Social Development in bringing families together, especially in cases where there is GBV.

They then plead to the communities to work closely with the government and state institutions that deal with fighting crimes in fighting drug abuse and GBVF in our province and, ultimately, in the entire country.

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