Recovered drug addict helps others beat substance abuse

Recovered drug addict helps others beat substance abuse

“Through greater awareness and communication, we can break the stigma.”

Msizi Ngubane
Msizi Ngubane/ Supplied

Drug abuse is a global problem.  Fifteen percent of South Africa's population has a drug problem, reports Online Rehab

Sadly millions of lives are destroyed by substance abuse.  

Although treatment is available at rehab centers, not everyone can afford it. Free rehab centers are also sometimes full, and those who seek help have to be on a waiting list. 

Msizi Ngubane, a former drug addict, told Beautiful News that he started sniffing glue at the age of 12 to block out the pain of being in a toxic family.

He also struggled to get help when he was trying to beat his addiction. 

His addiction had even led to him leaving his home and living on the streets of Kwa-Zulu Natal. He told the publication that he chose to be homeless to be less of a burden to his family. 

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He spoke about the years he battled with his addiction. 

“When you're using drugs, you have to hustle. The moment you finish hustling, you have to smoke. The moment you finish smoking, you have to hustle,” he told the publication. 

“I needed to change my environment, but my addiction made that impossible,” he told Beautiful News. 

Fortunately for him, after much struggle, help came when he received methadone from Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre, which offered him the drug for free. 

“Seeing the positive impact that this had on my life, I decided to bridge the gap between Bellhaven's health experts and drug users,” he said. 

Now the recovered drug addict is helping others beat the addiction. He works at Bellhaven as a peer supporter during group sessions. 

 “When the nurse doesn't understand what is going on with one of my peers, it's easy for me to explain because I know what is going on with my brother,” Msizi told the publication. 

He added that people should stop the stigma when it comes to drug abuse. 

“Drug use is a sickness and it should be treated as such,” he says. “Through greater awareness and communication, we can break the stigma.”

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These are the signs of addiction, according to SADAG:

• Loss of interest in day-to-day activities

• Absence from school/dropping out

• Change crowd (to hang out with those who are users)

• Become moody, negative, cranky, or worried all the time

• Have trouble concentrating

• Lack of energy resulting in sleeping much more

• Aggressive behaviour that will lead to getting into fights, being argumentative

• Committing crime to feed the habit

• Red or puffy eyes

• Unexplainable weight gain or loss

• Frequent runny nose.

If you are suffering, you need to seek professional help. The South Africa Depression and Anxiety Group launched the Ke Moja WhatsApp Chat Platform (087 163 2025) for those suffering from addiction. 

You can also get help by contacting the following numbers: 

AL-ANON on 0861 252 666. 

Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline offers 24/7 0800 12 13 14. 

Lifeline South Africa on 0861 322 322. 

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