The escalating number of alcohol and substance abusers in KwaZulu-Natal has created the need for a holistic, full-time addiction rehabilitation centre…

Choose Life Specialist Recovery Centre, opened on Durban’s Windmill Road in January, has already proven itself a vital rehabilitative service for a population that is becoming ever more reliant on addictive substances.

In a report released by the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) for the period from January to June 2017, it was found that there had been a big jump in alcohol-related admissions to treatment centres.

In people below the age of 20 years, there was an increase from 8% to 24% in the six-month period. And, according to 2018 statistics, cannabis remains the primary narcotic, particularly among those under 20 years, while whoonga, heroin and cocaine are prevalent in the 20 to 35-year age group.

Private specialist clinic

Choose Life, originally established as an extension of the renowned Riverview Manor Rehabilitation Centre based in the Southern Drakensberg, is now operating as a full-time private specialist clinic under the watch of Alicia Ghiroo and her team.

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“We will continue to offer clients at Choose Life the same level of effective, professional treatment that has seen Riverview Manor rated as one of the top five facilities of its kind worldwide,” explained Vernon Goss, Director of Choose Life and Riverview Manor. “Through our specialist staff, co-ordinated approach and intimate groups, we are able to provide clients with the tools to address their addiction.”

An exterior photograph of Choose Life situated in Durban.

Growing alcohol and narcotic abuse amongst youth

Malcolm Young, General Manager said that they had identified a growing issue with alcohol and narcotic abuse in KwaZulu-Natal, particularly among the youth, and Choose Life will assist the growing need for treatment by providing a full-time rehabilitation programme. Clients can be referred by clinical professionals but attend the centre on a voluntary basis.

“Choose Life offers clients a comprehensive assessment, using the ASAM Criteria, to ensure correct placement and individualised treatment for people in recovery,” explained Young. “It is an affordable rehabilitative option that encourages clients to remain for a minimum of 21 days, but preferably 28 days, partly covered by medical aid. This ensures the treatment becomes part of the individual’s daily routine so as to avoid a relapse. The team – consisting of a consulting psychiatrist, general practitioner, clinical psychologist and a social worker – also offers secondary care for those who have completed an in-patient programme.

Malcolm Young attends to a client.

The in-house residency accommodation is limited to nine clients to ensure individual care

Clients attend a daily programme which runs from 9am to 5pm, with aftercare and psychotherapy groups filling up the entire day. There is also an evidence-based Intensive Outpatient Programme for adolescents and adults experiencing difficulties with a range of problems that are negatively impacting their quality of life.

“Our intimacy of care and high professional-to-client ratio allows us to give everyone the personal investment that they need to initiate and maintain change,” said Young. “We are already seeing incredible results in just a few short months because individuals are given every chance of a meaningful recovery.”

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