Drug Users and HIV +VE Persons

Young people are lured into drug use to escape their lives of poverty, deprivation and hopelessness. When DOST started in 1992, the drug users were living and dying on the streets with no recourse to treatment.
DOST started its street programme with burying the dead before they became food for the wild dogs. It also started drop in centres for street addicts as well as residential treatment and rehabilitation services for drug users.

DOST adopts a holistic approach with services based on the needs of the drug users .Through experience, DOST has developed a unique rehabilitation program to effectively eliminate drug dependence.

 

Street Reach-out
Teams of professionals go out daily to previously identified locations of drug users. They are given first aid, counselling and are motivated to come to the drop-in centres. This is the start of their recovery.

 

Drop-In Centres
Drop-In Centres have been established in urban and rural areas, refugee camps, tribal areas and Afghanistan. In these centres, the drug users are registered, given food, shelter and respite from the streets, and are provided facilities for washing, bathing, rest, and recreation. Drug use is banned, and they participate in therapeutic sessions comprising of lectures, counselling, and sharing of experiences. Based on achievement of set goals, they are then referred to the residential treatment centre.

 

Residential Treatment Centres
Drug addiction treatment is provided in the DOST Residential Centres as well as in the homes. This phase of treatment lasts for a minimum of 8 weeks and is comprised of 2 weeks of detoxification and 6 weeks of rehabilitation. After this period, they receive vocational skills training and undergo internships. This is all part of their rehabilitation and can last up to 6 months.

During rehabilitation, therapy is aimed at Whole Person Recovery (WPR) - physical, mental, social, spiritual and economic. Peer support is key to rehabilitation and recovery, and those undergoing therapy form a supportive community for each other, which acts as a substitute family. The community, under staff supervision, is run on a Self Help basis, with duties divided among the peers in accordance with their strengths and weaknesses. In this therapeutic community, they also elect their own leaders and set personal goals for themselves. The achievement of tasks/goals builds their self-esteem, empowers them, and brings structure and discipline into their lives.

The drug user is not the only one affected by the addiction, it is the whole family, which is why DOST works with the family members,counselling them to cope with their own negative feelings and to provide a supportive environment for the drug user during and after their rehabilitation program.

 

Aftercare and follow-up
Good aftercare is a tool that helps drug users back into the community. The community has a crucial role to play in this final stage of the recovery. The Faith-Based approach has been the most successful, especially in the tribal areas. Religious leaders use their status in the community to help to identify the drug users, to send them for treatment, and upon their return, to mobilise the community to support them in their recovery process, thereby minimizing the chances of relapse. DOST resources are pulled together to educate the community surrounding the drug users, to allow them to play a pivotal role in their recovery, and re-building a society.

"A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons."
Desmond Tutu

 

 

HIV/ AIDS is found among drug users and street children and the general population. It is especially found among those classed as Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), who contract and transmit the virus through sharing syringes and equipment. It is also passed on through sex, which results in transmission to the wife, newborn, and sexual partners. DOST has established Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres (VCT Centres) in different settings for the testing of HIV/AIDS, Hep B & C, and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), and refers the HIV positive cases for Antiretroviral therapy (ART). During treatment, DOST continues to provide care and support to the client and their families.

Awareness sessions are regularly carried out in schools and other institutions to educate people about HIV/AIDS anddrug abuse.