A New Hope in the Battle Against Substance Abuse: The Matrix® Program in Cape Town

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substance abuse matrix program

The City of Cape Town has achieved a remarkable milestone in the first quarter of 2023, with over 700 clients accessing the services offered by the substance abuse program. One of the program’s key components is the Matrix® initiative, which has received recognition for its achievements. This year, 23 participants received certificates at a ceremony in Town 2, Khayelitsha.

Making Inroads in the Fight Against Addiction

The Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross, highlights the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on communities and asserts that the city is gradually succeeding in the battle against this scourge. The program has recorded several interventions, including:

  • 711 clients accessing alcohol and drug treatment services.
  • An impressive 85% clean drug test rate for clients in the program.
  • 70 clients completing one month in the program, 33 concluding a four-month program, and 11 finishing a shortened program as per their treatment plan.
  • Regular outreaches to market the service within the community and empower women through a women’s group teaching them to crochet, knit, sew clothing, and cook.
  • Ongoing referrals to the program for clients living in shelters.
  • The employment of three clients through the Expanded Public Works Programme.

Additionally, the program collaborates with other city departments for digital literacy training, storytelling, performing arts, and other workshops, excursions, and sessions.

Inspiring Stories of Success

Despite facing challenges, such as gang violence and transport limitations, clients continue to strive towards changing their lives. Their success stories portray their determination and the efficacy of the Matrix® program:

  • A 33-year-old woman, who was referred to Matrix® after using tik and dagga, fully participated in the program and secured full-time employment.
  • A client who completed the program in April 2022 continues attending group sessions for support and was accepted to study social work at UNISA.
  • Another participant was accepted to study IT at Walter Sisulu University.
  • A 45-year-old man from Tafelsig has been sober for over 130 days, completed the full program, and improved family relationships.
  • A 67-year-old male client diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome due to alcohol abuse successfully completed the program and is now 69 days sober.

Overcoming Addiction and Building Stronger Communities

Councillor Van der Ross emphasizes the possibility of overcoming addiction through the Health Department’s efforts, including the eight substance abuse treatment sites in the city. The Matrix® program is available for walk-in clients who undergo professional assessments and drug and alcohol screenings.

The Matrix® model offers a comprehensive treatment approach, consisting of three to four sessions a week, including counseling sessions, early recovery groups focusing on skills to stay clean and sober, relapse prevention groups, family education groups, and social support groups with others struggling with substance abuse. The program is located in various areas, such as Tafelsig, Eerste River, Town 2 Khayelitsha, Ruimte Road, Scottsdene, Parkwood, Delft South, and Albow Gardens.

The Matrix® program’s continued success in Cape Town signifies a beacon of hope for those grappling with substance abuse and is a testament to the resilience and determination of its participants. Through such initiatives, communities can gradually dismantle the pervasive grip of addiction and rebuild stronger, healthier foundations.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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