Drug danger in the spotlight

At the presentation - (back) Kwanele Sibiya, Noluduzo Cele, Talent Zulu, Capt D Ferreira, Sisanda Khumalo; (front) Musa Dlamini , W/O P Raidoo, guest speaker and drug awareness activist Natalie Mason, Principal J King, Sandra Stephens and Londokuhle Phungula

A RECOVERING drug addict has shared with school learners the gruelling details of a four-year downhill spiral after a drug stint which cost her her family and livelihood.

Richards Bay resident Natalie Mason joined the Richards Bay SAPS on a drug awareness campaign at John Ross College at the start of the school’s second term on Tuesday.

Mason gave the Grade 11 and 12 learners a first-hand account of the devastating affects of drug and alcohol abuse and the destructive path it led her on.

‘Dagga is the gateway drug. I started there and after a while I wanted more because that high was not enough.

‘In four years I lost everything, my business, family and my children.

Captain Debbie Ferreira address the Grade 11 and matric learners at John Ross College

‘I would work 24 hours a day to support my drug habits which were running to about R30 000 a month. I had nothing to show for all my hard work.

‘I experienced a harsh reality check on 29 October last year when things turned violent and I lost my three-year-old daughter.

‘My husband left with our daughter and I had nowhere to go but to the police for help. It was then that my journey of recovery began.

‘For a recovering addict, every 24 hours is a milestone achievement.

‘I do not want anyone to go through what I have been through. The first two months of recovery was hell.

‘I was underweight, could not eat or sleep and had so many added medical conditions caused by the excessive drug use.

‘The time comes when you have to say no and you must do it. You will have problems, but it is only you who will choose to change,’ said Mason.

The 42-year-old is now living with the costly consequences of abuse, the multiple medical conditions caused by the years of drug abuse, but she is also rebuilding her life and relationships.

She encourage learners who have been experimenting with drugs to give it up now, save themselves and make use of the help provided by the school, SAPS and local non-profit organisations.


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Conelia Harry

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