Former Eldos drug user opens up about losing her kids and getting clean

Eldorado Park community activist Dereleen James, and Gauteng Social Development's Mbangwa Xaba joined host Gugulethu Mhlungu for a conversation about how communities can deal with substance abuse and drug dens.

Elsie is a resident of Eldorado Park and has been using drugs for twenty years. She relates how she used to have sex with various men just to get her quick fix and eventually lost her children when they were removed from her care.

She explains that soon after she lost her children, she was placed in a women's centre, where stayed for about eleven months. She says she has been off drugs for a year and seven months and although she is jobless she is working hard to get her life back on track.

I see my children on weekends. I'm only allowed to see them on weekends.

Elsie, Eldorado Park resident

James says the one thing she has been highlighting over the years is that drug users are willing to get help, but are often faced with a conundrum. What will happen to them as soon as they leave rehabilitation centres and facilities, and are at risk of returning to using illegal substances?

When fighting substance abuse, you need a holistic approach, and unemployment plays a huge role in people relapsing, explains James.

We need assistance and support from government in the form of job creation within your community. Eldorado Park has a high percentage of unemployment. It is unemployment, it is poverty, there is a sense of hopelessness in the community.

Dereleen James a community Activist in Eldorado Park

Xaba tells Mhlungu that government runs a number of programmes aimed at assisting rehabilitated drug users. He adds that there are two centres in Tshwane and Sedibeng, with an additional centre being built in Johannesburg.

Listen to the full conversation in the audio clip below:


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