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Hout Bay C.A.R.E.S

Hout Bay C.A.R.E.S (Community Awareness Rehabilitation Education Services) was officially launched by Minister Albert Fritz, MEC for the Department of Social Development, on 26 July 2011 in Hout Bay, Cape Town.

In the photo, from left to right, are Sr Theresa Salmons, Operational Manager Hout Bay Community Health Clinic, Jurgens Smit, CEO FavorSA and MEC Fritz, Dept of Social Development.


At the launch, from Left to Right, Marius Lovrick, Manager Hout Bay C.A.R.E.S, MEC Fritz and Jurgens Smit, CEO, FvorSA

People’s Post

“Telling it as it is" Tuesday 22 April 2008

Drugs Under Fire
by Adri-Ann Peters

A BRAND new approach to beating addiction is coming to Salt River, Woodstock and Observatory on Youth Day, Monday 16 June.

Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR), in partnership with the City of Cape Town, the Woodstock Community Police Forum (CPF) and various other community organisations, recently formed a steering committee intent on “changing the face of Woodstock” and surrounding areas.

“We’ll start by declaring all four sectors within the Woodstock precinct drug-free zones. These sectors will be divided into blocks; blocks divided into streets, and each street will have a committee with a chairperson. The person responsible for each household will be asked to sign a pledge declaring the home a drug-free zone,” says Jurgens Smit, executive director of FAVOR.

FAVOR, a Salt River NGO specialising in counselling and support for addicts and their families, is remarkable for its reported 86% success rate.

Households in the area will have free access to the services provided by FAVOR’s volunteers. The NGO stands on the principle that a fulfilling life awaits people who have been addicted to alcohol or drugs for extended periods.

Smit says that a positive attitude, reinforcing the ideal of “Recovery is a Reality”, is what has enabled scores of people to beat their habits. “We have to move away from the negative approach to recovering from addiction. Recovering addicts do not have to meet in some dark room somewhere talking about their problems. Recovery is a Reality,” he says.

The organization offers a comprehensive treatment plan for those suffering from addiction. Treatment involves private counselling, group sessions, relapse prevention and the teaching of life skills: all provided that those seeking treatment undergo a detox program if required.

Teun Baartman, chairperson of the Woodstock CPF, believes the project could not have come at a better time, highlighting that most crimes in the area tend to be drug-related.  “research has shown that people commit crimes to feed their drug habits. The CPF will therefore support the initiative in every possible way,” he says.

Cedric Thomas, ward councillor for the area, believes strongly in the positive outlook model that FAVOR recently presented at an inter-sector meeting hosted by the Woodstock police. He believes young people in the area do not have nearly enough social activities to keep their minds occupied and away from negative influences like drugs.

In addition to launching FAVOR’s programmes on June 16, an anti-drug community march – starting from the Pick n Pay in Observatory and ending at the Woodstock Police Station – will be held on 14 June. Residents will publicly declare the area as a drug-free zone, says Smit.

Sports activities, a music concert, and special art projects will be organised at the Shelley Street sports ground in Salt River in order to involve the youth on the day.

“We hope to issue the youth with disposable cameras and task them with the job of taking pictures that best represent the area and the circumstances in which they currently live.  The photographs will be judged and there will be such prizes as bursaries,’ says Smit.

“Young people will have the opportunity to take a look at the area, and after a year see how different it is.”

Researchers study why teenagers
can be so difficult to get along with

By Robert S. Boyd
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Scientists are gaining new insights into remarkable changes in teenagers' brains that may help explain why the teen years are so hard on young people - and on their parents.
From ages 11 to 14, a young person loses a substantial fraction of the connections between cells in the part of the brain that enable him or her to think clearly and make good decisions. This loss is a vital part of growing up. It clears out, or "prunes," unneeded wiring to make way for more efficient information-processing in adults.
"Ineffective or weak connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant the desired shape," said Alison Gopnik, a professor of child development at the University of California-Berkeley.
The pruning process "appears to follow the principle of use-it-or-lose-it," said Jay Giedd, a child development expert at the National Institute of Mental Health, in Bethesda, Md. "Neural connections or synapses that get exercised are retained, while those that don't are lost."
Like teenage pimples and body hair, changes inside the head can be upsetting.
"It certainly seems possible that normal adolescents who are experiencing these brain changes can react emotionally," said Ian Campbell, a neuroscientist at the University of California-Davis Sleep Research Laboratory.
"Teens may process emotions differently than adults," said Giedd, who calls the teenage brain "a work in progress."
Girls typically start pruning their brain cells about a year before boys do, but the loss ends up the same, Campbell said.
To figure out why teenagers are often moody, uncooperative and irresponsible, scientists make images of their brains. Their tools include electroencephalograms, which record brain waves, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, which measures activity in various regions of the brain.
"In the past decade, brain changes in adolescence have become the subject of intensive research," Campbell said.
For instance, he and a colleague at the University of California-Davis, psychiatrist Irwin Feinberg, attached EEG recorders to the skulls of two groups of children - one of 9- to 11-year-olds, the other of 12- to 14-year-olds - while they slept. The devices showed that the brain waves were 25 percent weaker in the older children than in the younger ones, the scientists reported in the December issue of the American Journal of Physiology.
These waves are produced by electrical vibrations in brain cells, or neurons. The more neurons vibrate in concert, the stronger the wave.
Campbell compared the effect to "crowd noise within a stadium. When all the members of the crowd yell together, the noise is very loud." Similarly, in the brain, he said, "the intensity is strongly affected by the number of neurons oscillating in unison."
Synaptic pruning is a good thing. It brings about "an improvement in speed in information-processing and a greater ability to build the long neuronal chains required for complex problem-solving," Campbell said. "There are situations in which less is more."
However, the loss of synapses makes it much harder for an adult to learn a new language without a foreign accent or to achieve first-class athletic or musical skills.
According to Gopnik's book, "The Scientist in the Crib," each neuron in the cerebral cortex, the front part of the brain, where higher-level thinking is centered, has about 2,500 connections, known as synapses, at birth. By the age of 2 or 3, the number has soared to about 15,000 synapses per neuron. Eventually, however, as a result of synaptic pruning, the average adult brain has only half as many connections. Alzheimer's patients have even fewer.
Other crucial changes occur in the teenage brain parallel with pruning. According to Giedd, "a major rearrangement of brain structure and function takes place during early adolescence."
Regions that specialize in language, for example, grow rapidly until about age 13 and then stop. The frontal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for high-level reasoning and decision-making, aren't fully mature until adulthood, around the early 20s, according to Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, a neuroscientist at Harvard's Brain Imaging Center in Belmont, Mass.
"Adolescents are more prone to react with gut instinct when they process emotions," Yurgelun-Todd said. "But as they mature into early adulthood, they are more able to temper their gut reactions with reasoned responses."
This is why some researchers, such as Abigail Baird, a psychologist at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., contend that teenage criminals shouldn't be subject to the death penalty.
"These studies have shown remarkable changes that occur in the brain during the teen years, Giedd said. "They also demonstrate what every parent can confirm: The teenage brain is a very complicated and dynamic area, one that is not easily understood."

For more information online, go to www.nimh.nih.gov/Publicat/teenbrain.cfm

Teenage Risks, and How to Avoid Them

NY Times, December 18, 2007
By Jane E. Brody

Last January in Freehold Township, N.J., a car driven by a 17-year-old high school student, with two fellow students as passengers, passed a car being driven by another teenager at 70 miles an hour in a 50-mile zone. The passing vehicle crashed into an oncoming van. Three boys and the 68-year-old van driver were killed.
It is an all too familiar tale, prompting parents and school officials alike to wonder why risky behavior is so common among teenagers and what might be done to curtail it. Is it that teenagers think that they are immortal or invulnerable, immune to the hazards adults see so clearly? Or do they not appreciate the risks involved and need repeated reminders of the dangers inherent in activities like driving too fast, driving drunk, having unprotected sex, experimenting with drugs, binge drinking, jumping into unknown waters, you name it?
None of the above, says Valerie F. Reyna, professor of human development and psychology at the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell. The facts are quite the opposite. Scientific studies have shown that adolescents are very well aware of their vulnerability and that they actually overestimate their risk of suffering negative effects from activities like drinking and unprotected sex.
For example, a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that teenagers were more likely than adults to overestimate risks for every outcome studied, from low-probability events like contracting H.I.V. to higher-probability ones like acquiring more common sexually transmitted diseases or becoming pregnant from a single act of unprotected sex.
“We found that teenagers quite rationally weigh benefits and risks,” Dr. Reyna said in a recent interview. “But when they do that, the equation delivers the message to go ahead and do that, because to the teen the benefits outweigh the risks.”
For example, she said: “The risk of pregnancy from a single act of unprotected sex is quite small, perhaps one chance in 12, and the risk of contracting H.I.V., about one in 500, is very much smaller than that. We’re not thinking logically; they are.”
For that reason, Dr. Reyna and Frank Farley, a professor at Temple University and past president of the American Psychological Association, noted last June in an article in Scientific American Reports that traditional programs that appeal to teenagers’ rationality “are inherently flawed, not because teens fail to weigh risks against benefits,” but because “teens tend to weight benefits more heavily than risks when making decisions.”
As for perceptions of invulnerability, a national study of 3,544 teenagers a decade ago found that their own estimates of their risk of dying were very much higher than the actual risk. Because adolescents already feel so vulnerable, showing them photos or films of fatal car crashes may do nothing to reduce future risk-taking.
“It now becomes clearer why traditional intervention programs fail to help many teenagers,” Dr. Reyna and Dr. Farley wrote. “Although the programs stress the importance of accurate risk perception, young people already feel vulnerable and overestimate their risks.”
In Dr. Reyna’s view, inundating teenagers with factual risk information could backfire, leading them to realize that behaviors like unprotected sex are less risky than they thought. Using an analytical approach of weighing risks versus benefits is “a slippery slope that all too often results in teens’ thinking that the benefits outweigh the risks,” she said.
A New Strategy
Based on what she and others have learned about how teenagers react to risky choices, Dr. Reyna, co-director of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research at Cornell, and her colleague Charles J. Brainerd are testing a new approach to adolescent risk prevention.
She explained that as people grew older and more experienced, they became more intuitive, and more of their decisions were based on what she calls “gist,” an overall sense of what is the best course of action.
This approach, in which “one sees the forest more than the trees,” enables adults to reach the bottom line more quickly and, in the process, reduce their risky behaviors.
For example, while an adolescent might consider playing Russian roulette for a $1 million payoff, a normal adult would not give it a moment’s thought. Cutting directly to the chase, the adult would be more inclined to think: “No way! No amount of money is worth a one in six chance of dying.”
“Young people don’t get it,” Dr. Reyna said. “They don’t get the gist of a situation. Gist is based on one’s culture, background and experiences, and experience is what teens lack.”
A gist-based approach to decision making results in simple, black-and-white conclusions of good or bad, safe or dangerous, she and Dr. Farley wrote.
How can “gist” be created? After a young woman I knew became a paraplegic after swerving her car to avoid hitting a squirrel, I trained myself mentally not to brake or swerve in that situation, and I urged my sons and daughters-in-law to do the same. The gist here is that the life of a squirrel is not worth the possible consequences to me or anyone else on the road.
Likewise, in helping a teenage girl resist spontaneous, unprotected sex, a gist-based approach has her practicing ways to say “no” and not worry about losing her boyfriend. A 15-year-old who already had one unintended pregnancy and who participated in the “intuitive, gist-enhanced intervention program” that Dr. Reyna and Dr. Farley devised put it this way: “In talking about all the different ways to say ‘no,’ I’ve actually used them, which makes me feel much more comfortable. And I feel confident. I don’t feel stupid by saying ‘no.’ And even if people think I’m stupid, that’s their problem.”
Making Good Choices
Teenagers need “practice at recognizing cues in the environment that signal possible danger before it’s too late to act,” the two experts urged in a 44-page review of adolescent decision making published in September 2006 in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
At the same time, Dr. Reyna warned: “Younger adolescents don’t learn from consequences as well as older adolescents do. So rather than relying on them to make reasoned choices or to learn from the school of hard knocks, a better approach is to supervise them.”
In other words, young teenagers need to be protected from themselves by removing opportunities for risk-taking — for example, by filling their time with positive activities and protecting them from risky situations that are likely to be tempting or that require “behavioral inhibition.”
A young teenage girl should not be left alone in the house with her boyfriend, and responsible adults should be omnipresent and alcohol absent when teenagers have parties.

Use It, Lose It, your job that is

Steps to a Drug-Free Workplace.

Drug-free workplace programs generally include all or some of the following five components described below.  Although programs can be effective without all five components, it is recommended that all be explored when developing a drug-free workplace program. Employers and employees should work together to explore each one and design a balanced, fair program suited to the unique needs and challenges of their workplaces. 

1. Written Policy
– Serves as the foundation for a drug-free workplace.  Effective policies should clearly state why the policy is being implemented, describe prohibited behaviors and explain consequences for violation.  It is essential that the policy be shared and understood by all and consistently applied.

2. Employee Education
– Provides employees with information they need to adhere to and benefit from the drug-free workplace program and informs them about the nature of addiction; its effect on work performance, health and personal life; and help available for those with problems.

3. Supervisor Training
– Teaches supervisors, managers and foremen to enforce the policy and helps them recognize and deal with employees who have performance problems stemming from substance abuse.  Supervisors must not, however, be expected to diagnose or provide counseling.

4. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) –
Offers free, confidential services to help employees, including supervisors, managers and foremen, resolve personal and workplace problems—such as alcohol and drug abuse—that can interfere with job performance.  EAPs provide workers, and often their family members, with assessment, short-term counseling and referrals to treatment or other community resources.  They may also provide training, education and consultation on a variety of topics such as how to handle difficult co-workers/employees.

5. Drug Testing
– Provides concrete evidence for intervention and/or disciplinary action.  Drug testing policies must clearly stipulate who will be tested, when tests will be conducted, which drugs will be tested for, how tests will be conducted and the consequences of a positive test.  Legal counsel should be sought before starting a drug testing program.  Local, state and Federal laws, as well as collective bargaining agreements, may impact when, where and how testing is performed.
For more information about implementing the steps to a drug-free workplace program, email us:

Fundraising: Raffle Draw Results

From left to right: Jurgens Smit, Executive Director, FavorSA, and Ms Sophia Johnson, Social worker for the Woodstock Improvement District, draws our lucky winner under the watchful eyes of a representative of our auditors, Cecil Kilpin and Company.

The draw for the African quilt took place on Tuesday, 25 March 2008. Congratulations to Ms. Pam Regan, the winner of this beautiful art work.

Thank you also to everyone who participated in our raffle. We are using the funds in our Community Drug Awareness Program and your contribution is making this project successful.

‘Reality’ Advertising Makes an Impact Worldwide

Factual, researched evidence is being used to inform youth around the world about the real danger and consequences of drug misuse.

Outside South Africa, hard-hitting media campaigns are resorting more and more to ’reality’ advertising, using horrific images of actual addicts in what has been labelled “shock tactics”. These campaigns are getting positive results.

"Faces and Voices of Recovery - South Africa" believe that the drug epidemic (particularly "tik" methamphetamine) in the Western Cape has become so alarming among our vulnerable youth, that all and any means of information and education must be used to get the message "Say no to drugs" across to our youth. 

Australian Ads to scare people off ice (‘tik’ or crystal meth)
Matt Price
October 28, 2006

STUNNED by the explosion in crystal methamphetamine use and egged on by increasingly desperate medical experts, the federal Government is planning the grandmother of all public scare campaigns to dissuade young people from experimenting with ice.

Chris Pyne, the parliamentary secretary for health, intends to spend as much as $30 million terrifying Australians about the dire consequences of dallying with the popular party drug.

The Government will take its lead from the notorious Grim Reaper anti-AIDS television campaign of the mid-1980s, which was widely criticised as being alarmist and melodramatic but proved resoundingly successful in curbing the spread of the disease.

"Those Grim Reaper commercials warning people about safe sex terrified people into changing their behaviour and stopped AIDS almost in its tracks," Mr Pyne said.

View link: theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20658115-23289,00.html

In line with the rest of the world, the South African Central Government must honour its promises to spend more money on education, research and anti drug campaigns aimed at our vulnerable youth.

FAVOR SA is not alone; the Fish Hoek Drug Crisis and Counselling Centre also believes in facing reality, and use realistic information on their website, www.usenet.co.za/nodrugs/meths.htm  

According to the CTDCC (Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre), smoking Tik (crystal meth) creates a hopeless addict in just 6 months. After that, it’s a fast and dangerous slide downhill all the way: lifeormeth.com/albertacapetown. Over two thirds of meth users, having viewed this website are reported to be inspired or empowered to quit !!  (statistics from the State of Alberta, Canada.)

Other examples of an anti-Tik ‘reality’ campaigns have been selected here

Stop the madness - Hard hitting information, plus pictures of the irreparable brain damage caused by Meth use - www.methmadness.com

FavorSA director, Frank Rousseau, comments: “Meth really is madness. If it were foreign aggressors infiltrating and corrupting our youth, the army would have been called out by now! Meth as an aggressor is no different. The pandemic of ‘tik’ use among our youth is out of control. Crime rates are up; muggings, rape, youth pregnancy, school dropouts and suicide rates are all sharply up in direct proportion to the escalation in ‘tik’ misuse in the Western Cape.

MRC Research paper of February 2007 statistics in the Western Cape show the following horrific trend:

- In the last 12 months (Dec 05 to Dec 06) the number of patients seeking treatment for methamphetamine (Tik) addiction shows a massive 60 percent increase.

- Nearly 40% of these patients were under 20 years of age, the youngest of whom was just 10 years old. Clearly, our youth is being targeted.

Read the full report here (PDF file).

A poster from the Montana Meth project. See more at this site.

www.paintthestate.org - A teen art competition tells it like it is.

Even "Drug Free America" is using 'reality advertising':
UK Campaign
On the subject of brain damage, another new, "hard hitting" educational advertising campaign started in England (BBC) on 23 October, 2006, using horror fantasy, instead of reality to make a strong point. The TV ad shows brain-damaged teenagers shopping for a new brain: (if only it were possible!) news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6070038.stm
Is it not time for all South Africans to come to the rescue of its youth, too?

New NIDA Campaign to Send Teens the Message about the
Link Between Drug Abuse and HIV

"A new life, free from addiction, is a real possibility for all South Africans. Long term recovery is the best path to the healing of our children and our society."

Frank Rousseau, FAVOR SA