THE Port Elizabeth Red Cross has added its voice to the growing outcry about the lack of a youth drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in the city. While Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi had promised a centre would open in New Brighton next year, it has already taken more than six years to get to this point – thanks to budget constraints and red tape.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross last month organised a Drug Free Future Outreach in New Brighton to inform the youth – between the ages of 14 and 20 – about the dangers of substance abuse.
“For young drug addicts seeking sobriety, the services provided in Nelson Mandela Bay are limited in terms of in- patient treatment,” Red Cross regional manager Coralie Peo- Swartz said.
A survey completed at the outreach indicated that most pupils drank alcohol or used drugs to handle stress, she said.
“Girls wouldn’t admit to using drugs but they said they do drink to ‘have fun and a good time’.
“Only 11% of the learners who admitted to using alcohol or drugs were still virgins.”
Activist John Preller said the absence of a youth drug rehabilitation centre in Port Elizabeth was of huge concern. – Estelle Ellis
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