Methadone to become more available

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Methadone is a synthetic, narcotic analgesic used to assist drug addicts to recover from the addiction.

Phalatse said this at the commemoration of the International Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Day in Joubert Park on 27 June. Community members, including drug addicts, joined the march with Phalatse to five drug-infested hotspots around the inner city. One of the drug users, Musa Zulu revealed that he has been to a rehabilitation centre before. However, he could not fight addiction due to lack of methadone.

Methadone is a synthetic, narcotic analgesic. It is often used to assist drug addicts to recover from the addiction.

Zulu said, “I am willing to quit. The problem is the after-effects of quitting. I get sick and I can’t explain how I am when I’m sick.

“I went to rehab but it could not help because they did not have methadone. You can’t quit without methadone.”

Phalatse said that although methadone was available in most private rehabilitation centres, it was not yet available in government centres.

“Methadone is a safe alternative that helps with overcoming addiction. Sometimes when there’s no alternative, addicts tend to relapse when they get cravings. It is not part of government familiar.”

She added that the national government was reviewing guidelines to include methadone in the list of medicines supplied. “We rely on the national government to procure and supply medicine through the provincial government.”

Phalatse encouraged drug users to make use of the Substance Abuse Treatment Centres available in most parts of Joburg. This was in line with concerns raised by Zulu and other drug users, that they fall into the drug trap even after going through rehabilitation because of lack of opportunities. “We are engaging with other departments in the City to find solutions and programmes to assist them.”

Furthermore, Phalatse said they have partnered with the University of Johannesburg for career guidance and career development programmes. “We also need the private sector on board. There are partnerships but they are not enough.”