The inner city’s Joubert Park Clinic has made way for the establishment of the City of Johannesburg’s fourth substance abuse treatment centre on 7 August.
Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba and MMC for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse, opened the Joubert Park community-based substance abuse treatment centre with the hope that it will help eradicate substance abuse and other related social ills in the city.
The department of health and social development aims to expand the number of community substance abuse treatment centres to eight by the end of the current financial year.
Mashaba said these centres render the much-needed outpatient rehabilitation services to users, their families and the community.
He said the two established centres in Eldorado Park and Tladi have already seen 243 people seeking treatment.
Some were, however, not very happy that the clinic has since been moved.
MMC Phalatse, however, assured the residents that the relocation of the clinic to Esselen Street Clinic was made with the communities’ best interest at heart.
She said Esselen Clinic has space and capacity to offer a full range of health services as compared to Joubert Park Clinic, whose development was hampered by the park being a heritage site.
“I personally walked from Esselen Street Clinic to Joubert Park to determine the distance and I can assure you that the distance between the two facilities is less than a 10-minutes’ walk,” she said, adding that the broader community will benefit from having a community-based substance abuse treatment centre along a busy transport corridor.
Also at the launch was the Outreach Foundation, an organisation that offers support and development to people living in the inner city of Johannesburg and beyond.
Johan Robyn from the foundation said he was happy that the much-needed centre was established, referring to the spate of drug abuse in the inner city.
“The drugs are so uncontrollable in the streets. My biggest fear is for our boys and girls smoking [across the city] and begging for money,” he said. “My dream is that this treatment centre will be like a river that cleanses young people. It must run and fill up every corner of the city where someone is using drugs.”
Robyn also thanked the City for their support, referring especially to the displaced people unit that they often work with.
The City will later this month open the River Park Clinic community-based substance abuse treatment centre in Alexandra.
The mayor also said the City has a 24-hour substance abuse crisis line called Ithemba, which is situated at 28 Harrison Street, Marshalltown in central Johannesburg.
The toll-free service provides 24-hour access to professional assistance, telephone counselling services, containment of emotions and feelings, referrals to support services and home visits, he said.
The Ithemba toll-free number is 0800 223 217.