Alcohol-drug rehab centre gets house nod

Parliament has unanimously voted to pass a motion seeking to set up a specialised alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation facility.

Gaborone Central Member of Parliament (MP) Dumelang Saleshando brought up the motion. Responding to debates before it was put to a vote, Saleshando said he wished to emphasise the urgency with which the motion should be treated."It is well and good for us to support the motion, but if three years later nothing has happened, too many lives would have been lost," he said.Saleshando said often substance-addiction starts off as something trivial but escalates. He cautioned legislators from thinking that the substance abuse issue is about delinquent children, saying that even successful adults get addicted to drugs and alcohol and find it hard to get off them.The MP said the emphasis should not be on building new structures or hospitals, but rather on getting the best human resource possible.

When debating the motion, Kgatleng West MP, Gilbert Mangole, said it was unfortunate that while the aim of the alcohol levy was to collect funds to build such facilities, the money has since been diverted elsewhere. He said government is obliged to create rehabilitation and treatment facilities as raising alcohol prices, through the levy, may have led people to taking cheaper and more lethal substances.Assistant Minister of Health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, said his ministry has the intention of establishing a national in-patient rehabilitation centre, but the plan was always to have an integrated approach, with the national centre augmented by other organisations.  He therefore supported the motion, as it would not derail the ministry from its plan. Assistant Minister Local Government and Rural Development, Olebile Gaborone, also supported the motion and added that smoking glue must be made unlawful as it has the same effect as ingesting marijuana and mandrax. He said the glue-smoking habit was becoming prevalent in primary schools and must be nipped in the bud.Botswana has previously not had an in-patient national rehabilitation centre, but relied on services rendered by organisations like the Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNET).

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