Port Elizabeth restoration ministry, A Fighting Chance (AFC), is hosting a Drug Dependence Seminar at Father’s House Church, PE, on Saturday (May 24, 2014) to equip addicts and their families to break the cycle of drug dependence.
Drug addicts and their family members generally don’t know what to do about the nightmare they face and often make decisions that worsen their situation, said Reeze Telling, a former professional cricketer and Tik addict who co-founded AFC with his wife, La, last year.
The seminar, which will be addressed by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts, will provide addicts and their families who feel trapped in a drug dependence nightmare with answers and information they need to begin a journey to freedom. It will be AFC’s second ‘Breaking the Cycle of Drug Dependence’ seminar: the first was held in Gelvandale in November 2013 and the families that attended that event “are promoting this seminar even more than we are”, said Telling.
Experts who will participate in the seminar include a medical doctor who also has a degree in pharmacy and a keen interest in treating chemically dependent people;Mrs Moya Brits, the head of treatment from SANCA; and Pastor Nigel Welsch who will talking about pastoral care during and after addiction treatment. A panel comprising local stakeholders who are involved in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and dependency will answer questions and provide information on the options available to dependants and their families.
Telling said the city is currently facing a pandemic of addiction that affects all socioeconomic areas. Tik abuse remains high but reported cases of heroin, alcohol, cannabis (dagga) and medication (prescription and over-the-counter) dependence are on the rise — often shrouded in secrecy, fear of stigmatization, apathy, lack of access to resources and disinformation.
The seminar will run from 2am to 5pm on Saturday at Father’s House Church in Paterson Road, and tickets at R30 will be available at the door. Telling said he is delighted that some people are sponsoring entrance tickets for those who cannot afford them. “Because the people who need this [the seminar] the most are the ones who cannot afford it,” he said. Income from tickets will go towards AFC’s dream of establishing a resource centre and rehabilitation centre.
The ministry tackles the evils of drug dependence and human trafficking provides a free lay counseling and referral service to addicts. It aspires to establish a free, professionally-staffed prevention and treatment resource centre in the Northern Areas where drug addiction and poverty is rife; and a drug rehabilitation centre which will cater for addicts who cannot afford private rehabilitation centres and whose needs are not met by state facilities where there are long waiting lists and patients are discharged after a few weeks.
“It makes me heart sore when people come to us for help but we cannot provide the help they need most,” said Telling.
“I had a gangster who came to me. His family had disowned me. He walked from wherever he was to see me and he begged me — he cried for help to get free from his addiction. But without having any financical support where do I send him to?”
Sharing a more positive testimony he told of how AFC managed to get a heroin addict who had lived on the street for several years into a city shelter. This enabled them to walk with him for three weeks preparing him for admission to a rehabilitation centre in Pretoria. During the three weeks there was a dramatic shift in the man’s midset as he came to realise that God alone was his hope for freedom and a future.
“What God did for me I know He can do for others,” said Telling, whose Tik nightmare ended after he after he accepted Christ into his life while at a drug rehabilitation centre in Cape Town in 2011.
More information about the seminar can be obtained from Steven Davids, a social worker and AFC team member, at 079 346 2196. Anybody who would like to sponsor more entrance tickets to the seminar or get involved in the ministry of AFC is also welcome to phone.