Chrysalis Pilot Drug Testing project sees a huge decrease in substance abuse - Media statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape MEC of Community Safety
16 Apr 2012
In 2011, a conditional grant of R90 000 was provided to the Western Cape's Chrysalis Academy to implement a drug testing pilot project. The project is aimed at reducing the level of substance abuse among the youth attending the academy though random drug testing and an informative education programme around substance abuse.
I have just received an extensive report on the pilot project and would like to congratulate the academy and their staff on the overwhelming success of this project.
Substance abuse is a social ill that plagues many communities in the Western Cape, and it became evident how prevalent the problem was when more than 50% of the students on one of the recent three-month residential training programmes admitted to substance abuse.
While Chrysalis Academy is not a drug rehabilitation centre, students have often used various illegal substances and normally meet the criteria of being without education, employment or any formal training; staff felt that combatting substance abuse at the same time would be hugely beneficial for the students. The pilot project also trains staff to better identify substance abusers, reasons for substance abuse and the related behavioural changes, so that they are better equipped to address these challenges and further help the students.
Management at Chrysalis Academy felt that drug testing could ascertain the extent of substance abuse amongst students and assist in ensuring that the academy stays drug free. Following a conditional grant provided for this purpose, Drug Testing Africa was appointed to implement the pilot project as the strategy to address substance abuse, particularly amongst the province's youth is central in enhancing safety in our communities.
The drug testing commenced on 21 January 2012, and tested 19 students seven days after the intake for the three-month residential programme for THC (marijuana), Opiates (Heroin), Amphetamines (Ecstacy), Methamphetamine (Tik), Cocaine (Crack cocaine) and others. Nine students tested positive for substance abuse. On 29 February 2012, 32 students were tested; only one tested positive for substance abuse. Subsequent tests on 15 March, 21 March, and 22 March, which saw an overall total of 82 tests performed on students, saw 100% negative test results. Clearly, drug testing is working!
What I found most encouraging about this pilot project was the response by the students, who now felt that they had 'proof that they were clean', after being handed an official document with their results.
Lucille Meyer, the Chief Executive (CEO) of Chrysalis Academy, reported that "their self-esteem was raised to such an extent that they asked that they have their certificates handed to them in front of the other students, as an extra means of claiming in front of witnesses that they were determined to say 'no' to drugs, as was the goal of the group."
The department of Community Safety will continue to fund this programme based on its success and I look forward to seeing the impact of these drug-free youth in our communities, who now have the necessary skills to find employment.
Chrysalis Academy is an initiative of the Western Cape Government, established in the year 2000 as a response to the high crime rate in the Western Cape, especially due to substance abuse and an active gang culture in Cape Town's disadvantaged communities.
The result is a holistic and sustainable five-year youth development programme based on three-month empowerment training that focuses on the individual's physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual development, which is still unique to our knowledge. The Chrysalis Programme is a preventative initiative, as opposed to rehabilitative. It is registered as a NPO (Non-Profit Organisation) and mainly funded by the Western Cape provincial department of Community Safety.
Greg Wagner (Spokesperson for MEC Plato)
Cell: 072 623 4499
Issued by: Western Cape Community Safety
16 Apr 2012
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