Addiction, 17 November 2016
Fr Stephen Tully from the Denis Hurley Centre and Mr Ashley Potts of the Cape Town Drug Centre spoke at this Roundtable. Both speakers pointed out that we all have the capacity to develop an addiction. However, while some addictions, such as running or knitting, are harmless, others such as alcohol, drugs and gambling will affect negatively on the addict; the family and the community. This is deeply concerning as more and more people are becoming dependent on drugs, and the age at which such dependence begins is getting lower. The positive result of interventions aimed at helping addicts are not assured. It is important to address the issue as a medical rather than a criminal/moral one. There is a need for proactive social policy, supportive structures and family involvement in the treatment process. Organizations offering services to those addicted to substances must offer accredited programmes and be properly registered. Early intervention services, developing the capacity of families to deal with a family member who is an addict and sustained support services are key. Those who feel connected to family, friends and the community are less likely to develop harmful addictive behaviours. The majority of addicts fall between the 18-30 age group and it is this group who are responsible for raising the next generation. In this Year of Mercy, the healing power of compassion was emphasised.
L-R: Fr Stephen Tully, Ms Lois Law (Researcher, CPLO), Mr Ashley Potts, and Fr Peter-John Pearson (Director, CPLO)
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