Parents can now have addicted kids arrested for treatment – SANCA

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VANDERBIJLPARK. – It’s possibly one of the toughest calls a parent can make – personally having your own child arrested for drug possession to ensure early education and treatment and avoid a life of addiction.
But as the heroin epidemic in Emfuleni – as with Europe, North America and South Africa – intensifies leaving untold numbers dead and addicted, that is exactly what SANCA Vaal, the region’s foremost addiction treatment agency, is now advocating.
“It’s tough love time, especially for parents – heroin and its many combinations with other drugs such as dagga make it essential that parents face up to their role in identifying and preventing drug use as early as possible in the life of their children. And if that requires having your child arrested for possession or use and referred early to our counselling and treatment services as a first offender then that could be one of the most beneficial decisions you ever make as a parent, despite the trauma” says Magriet Botha, director of SANCA Vaal in Vanderbijlpark. Despite extreme hostility to drug and substance abuse by parents, combined with social stigma against drug use, most parents remain woefully ignorant of the signs of drug and substance abuse. And the drug epidemic continues to grow. Paradoxically, uninformed social stigma against drug abuse drives it underground and is a major psychological factor in its attraction to youth, who often perceive parents as both ignorant and “uncool” on the subject, said Botha. “Parents should accept their responsibility to educate and although no parent has absolute control over the life and decisions of their children, you can bring them to a point of informed choice as soon as possible,” Botha emphasised. And if having them arrested so they have access to counseling and treatment, is the only way to prevent use and addiction, then parents should consider such a step, added Botha. SANCA Vaal urges parents to be alert to physical and behavioural signs of drug use/addiction in their children, including:
* Periods of laziness/sleepiness and changes in appearance/sloppiness
* Unexplained abdominal pains, vomiting and unnatural hunger or thirst
* Lying, dishonesty or theft, red eyes and changes in sleeping patterns
* Aggression (such as punching walls etc), mood swings and irritability
* New or different friends. Secretiveness
SANCA Vaal is in 9 Einstein Street and can be contacted on (016) 933 2055.

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