The war against alcohol and drug abuse

SHARE   |   Sunday, 31 August 2014   |   By Ontametse Sugar

Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNET) has upped the ante in the war against  drugs and alcohol abuse. The organisation has set apart August to focus on addressing drug issues in Botswana and aiding in education, prevention and rehabilitation of people suffering from substance abuse including support for families and society at large.

Speaking at substance free fun day last week Saturday, acting Executive Director for the organisation Prisca Mokgadi said that they do these activities to cater for different individuals and different ages. The theme this year is ‘Sober is cool, live above influence’.

“Young people have indicated that they are influenced to go into drugs by their peers and the people they live around with.  We want them to be free from pressure by their drug lords who sometimes entice them or scare their lives, and one thing that we have realised is that the environment that somebody grows up in contributes more into how their lives are shaped,” she said.
Mokgadi said that they are content with the progress that they have made in helping drug addicts in Botswana. She said that figures are growing in terms of their clientele which shows that they are really doing something right.

“Although some might argue that it shows that drug users are increasing in Botswana, to us it shows that awareness on drugs has increased. We also measure our success with the way our clients were when they first came to see us and the way they are afterwards. For example mostly for students we get excited when they are able to go back to resume their studies and pass, and we have a lot of those testimonies and most of them are now here working with us and helping us spread the message to others out there even though we don’t expose them because of our confidentiality policies. Sometimes we help families that were in the brink of divorce get back together and one thing that is of uttermost importance is for everyone to understand that recovery is a process. ”
Mokgadi said that apart from the great work that they do as the organisation and the great achievements they do have challenges that hinders the organisation from progressing further.
“Our main problem is capacity because we are unable to reach out nationally. We are not able to reach people who are in far places like Kasane. Substance abuse is not only a problem here in Gaborone but rather a problem that affects the whole nation. We also have limited staff because we have only six counselors and 1 clinical nurse,” she said.

She said the service of a satellite facility could be useful to them in faraway places. She also said that they appreciate financial support from alcohol levy fund by government but said it is very limited. They also rely on private organisations like Letshego and also benefit from individuals’ support and families and friends of the affected ones.

Bosasnet also helps the people who live around substance abusers because some end up suffering from high blood pressure, unhappy life, anxiety and suicide because of the stressful situation that they find themselves in especially young people who suffer that because of their parents or anyone who is supposed to take care of them.