Botswana Substance Abuse Network (BOSASNet), an independent organisation dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in the country, has set aside June as the first ever substance abuse awareness month in Botswana.
Formed in 2008, BOSASNet’s mission is to provide substance abuse education, prevention and rehabilitation services.┬á The organisation operates an outpatient counselling rehabilitation centre in Gaborone, which provides specialised counselling to individuals and families dealing with issues related to substance abuse and dependency.
In an interview with BOSASNet’s Marketing and Fundraising consultant, Felicity Hunter, she said, “We have chosen the month of June to educate the public on substance abuse, use and dependence.”
As far as Hunter is concerned, substance or alcohol dependency has reached critical levels, which is why they have set aside an awareness month.
The services that the organisation offers include presentations and workshops for schools and other organizations on substance use, abuse and dependency.┬á BOSASNet is also engaged in dissemination of information on substance use, abuse and dependency.
Hunter said crack cocaine and marijuana appear to be the most widespread drugs used currently and the substances are often used concurrently with alcohol. However, the most popular drug remains being alcohol with traditional home brews/chibuku being consumed in vast quantities. Consumption of alcohol is well known to have physical, emotional, and spiritually damaging effects.
She said a lot of cases they have been dealing with involve alcohol and drug abuse.┬áThey have also recorded some remarkable achievements. She added that there is limited research about substance use and consumption within Botswana; what is reported is probably underestimated and there is a need for national research within this field.
BOSASNet is holding lots of different activities and events giving the public a chance to get involved and partake in the month.
“We hope that people will benefit from the awareness programs we have put in place and we are targeting all classes of people,” she said.
Hunter said social and economic factors have been contributing in the abusing of alcohol in Botswana; stress factors, lack of gainful employment or education, poverty, family culture and experiences, life changing events, boredom, peers . She said the motivation to change must come from within; forcing or bribing a person to attend treatment or to get help will not work; substance abusers need to do it for themselves.
Hunter said BOSASNet takes a holistic approach to treatment and encourages clients to address all of the areas in their life which has been affected by their substance use.