Christmas in a Rehab
I recently caught up with Pastor Sophos Nissiotis and Gladys from Noupoort Christian Care Centre.
I felt it necessary to do this interview in light of the prolific drug problem facing parents today.
There are one or two controversial questions and answers that were highlighted and I trust you will be grateful for this information.
We encourage you to do your own investigation and research if this directly conflicts with your opinion. JOY! Magazine is willing to publish controversial information if we feel it is in the interest of our readers. This information is, however, based on personal testimony and experience of the drug counsellors and workers at Noupoort. You are welcome to contact them for further evidence and information regarding the claims:
Sophos, what’s it like spending Christmas in a rehab?
Better than celebrating on the streets or in a tik/crack house. The sooner the addict gets to know the Lord Jesus Christ, the sooner they will realise how important their recovery is.
How many kids will be spending Christmas at Noupoort this year?
Approximately 140, that is both here in Noupoort and Middleton (CIARA), 2nd phase recovery centre, which is a working town in the Eastern Cape.
What is the duration of a stay in your rehab?
A minimum period of 52 weeks is offered in order for individuals to gain insight and restore their self-confidence. After the successful completion, we strongly recommend a further 52 weeks ‘Year of your life programme’ at no cost.
What is the gender make up of patients at Noupoort ?
75% male - 25% female, average age 25.
What is the most common addiction amongst kids today?
Currently tik, dagga and heroin are the drugs of choice for teenagers.
Is there a common pattern of how one gets addicted ?
It all begins with cigarettes, alcohol, and dagga. Then the next step would be tik, cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
What is the most difficult addiction to cure?
Nicotine, alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, sexual addictions (pornography) are all socially acceptable and legal entities making it difficult for the addicted person to accept that there is something wrong with them. Following that would be all illegal drugs.
What is the easiest?
All addictions are easy to overcome when one invites the Lord Jesus Christ into one’s life.
Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” John 8:36 “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.”
How long does it take to ‘get clean?’
Instantly, the moment you stop using drugs and accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your life, your addiction stops. 2 Cor 5:17. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” It is renewing of the mind that takes time. Rom 12:2. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” That is the reason for a 2-year program at Noupoort Christian Care Centre.
What is your success rate?
For those who have successfully completed their 52 weeks program, the success rate is 76-80%. On completion of the 2-year program it is in excess of 95%.
What do you think causes kids to experiment with drugs in the first place?
Curiosity, peer pressure, adventure, excitement, to belong to the “in crowd”.
How can it be avoided?
Better prevention through educational programmes in crèches, nursery schools, primary and high schools, tertiary institutions, media and churches. Improving policing without glamorising drugs and alcohol. The media need to reflect the horrific side of falling prey to the various addictions e.g. young girls prostituting, abused, molested, assaulted, living on the streets begging, effects of overdosing, intensive care, imprisonment, drug trafficking and finally, mortuaries.
How do parents know that their child is experimenting
• Mood swings
(depression, rebelliousness, aggressiveness).
• Manipulation (wanting large sums of money)
• Thefts of house hold items, losing clothes.
• Compulsive lying
• Being vague regarding new friends.
• Lack of motivation, skipping school
• Change in eating and sleeping patterns
• Sudden weight loss
• Hygiene deteriorates.
How should a parent react if the child confesses to using drugs?
The parent must react in calm manner, be responsible yet firm, offering realistic solutions. We have ‘U-Can’ support groups in most of the major cities to assist parents. For further enquiries contact Linda Rostron on cell number (082) 520 1288 to assist in making the right decisions.
What percentage of kids coming to Noupoort used Ritalin as a child?
Is there a possible connection, in your opinion?
Yes, I believe if it’s taken in excess. Professor Andre Venter (Department of Pediatrics and Child Care at Bloemfontein University) mentions that it is impossible to walk into a pharmacy and buy Ritalin over the counter. In South Africa, as in most other countries, its prescription is strictly controlled. It is a schedule 6 drug along with amphetamines and drugs like Rohepnol. Cocaine used to fall into the same category until it was prohibited. Dr Peter Breggin, who heads up the International Centre for the study of Psychiatry and Psychology in the United States, and has written several books on drugs like Ritalin states: “All the classic stimulants have very similar effects on the brain. Ritalin, Amphetamine, Methanphetamine and cocaine all affect the same three neurotransmitter systems in the exact same parts of animals given these drugs. The reason you see more euphoria with cocaine is because people snort it or take it by other methods, which are highly concentrated, and it is also more potent. But when people start doing things with Ritalin, like snorting it, you get the same kind of euphoric effects and in fact cocaine addicts will use Ritalin and amphetamine if they have to.”
Go with what you know as a parent - do you want your child smoking dope or smoking cigarettes? Do you want your child taking alcohol or stimulant medication? The answer should be no,no,no! Dr Rosemary Tonetti, a doctor and Medical Director of Novartis, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Ritalin, says if taken orally and as prescribed, the medicine doesn’t have the same effect as cocaine. Codeine is also being irresponsibly prescribed by many doctors. Codeine is in fact a chemical heroin and is banned in many countries. It cannot even be obtained on prescription. It is frightening to see toddlers being treated with codeine e.g. cold and flu, medication such as pain stop syrups. One must ask the question then:Why are our teenagers experimenting with heroin? Could this be one of the reasons why the youth of today turn towards illegal drugs?
Do you think Psychiatrists and Doctors are aware of this?
Yes, I’m sure they are. Their argument would be most medicines have contra indications if not taken or administered properly.
As the biggest Drug Rehabilitation center in South Africa, has anyone from the medical profession ever asked you about this?
Never - it could be bad for their business…It would be like a drug dealer coming to us asking if it is bad to sell drugs.
In treating drugs addicts, does community service help?
I believe it helps as part of a supervised programme for recovering addicts. Sharing their frightening and devastating experience with the community and schools at large, benefits both the recovering addict and community.
Does physical hard work help?
It all depends on what you mean by hard work. Do you work hard? Work should be a symbol of achievement and self worth. Work is to be enjoyed by the participants. Idle hands are the devils play ground. Gen 3:19 “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return”. 2 Thess 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this; If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
What is the ‘average’ spiritual condition of your patients upon entering the rehab?
On a scale of 1 to 10, not higher than 2.
You preach the Gospel to all the patients that come to Noupoort – how many actually accept Christ as Lord and Saviour?
Only God really knows the answer to that question. We base our success rate on the acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are the statistics of their chances of recovery much higher?
Noupoort Christian Care Centre has a success rate of 76% as previously stated. The chances are definitely higher when a faith-based programme is adopted.
Do many patients object to hearing the Gospel?
No, the residents do not object. They are fully informed of the methodology of the N.C.C.C programme before admission, which clearly states that Jesus Christ and the Word of God is the foundation of the recovery for the addict.
Do you give patients Bibles?
All residents are to bring the New King James version upon arrival. For residents who cannot afford a Bible, we will supply one.
Is there any help you would like to receive from the broader Christian community?
Yes definitely. Instead of the body of Christ criticising and distancing themselves from N.C.C.C by listening to negative reports from the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ, let them come and visit and see for themselves this unique front line ministry that absolutely refuses to compromise the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church needs to understand that persecution is part and parcel of doing something right for God. We welcome intercessory prayer groups for this unique and special ministry. The burning desire to offer their services in helping bring the lost to the Lord Jesus Christ is of paramount importance. The Church needs to understand that N.C.C.C is a mission field for the lost and of the lost and N.C.C.C is running way below the capacity of what it could handle. The Church needs to set up a fund for this unique ministry, which is ministering to people that the Church would never reach. Although we are the most inexpensive recovery programmes in South Africa there are thousands that cannot afford our programme. Although we are not Government sponsored, we do sponsor as many as we can possibly afford.
Let us join hands and do something constructive instead of destructive to save the youth of our nation. Our outreach programme namely A2J (Addicted to Jesus generation) is willing to visit your church, schools, town, suburb and city to share and educate the young and old on the horrific dangers of the drugs which are freely available on our streets and school grounds. For enquiries please contact Linda Rostron on 082-520 1288.