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Do you know someone in need of help?
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People beat their addictions every day. Together we can make a difference!

Select any of the options below to learn the best way to find help. 

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Get informed about substance abuse. Learn about the substances most commonly abused, how drugs work, signs & symptoms etc.  

Select any option below to gain knowledge.

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We are all concerned about substance abuse issues threatening our youth, workplace & communities. Together we can strive towards a drug-free tomorrow and promote a better future.

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I have realized that I need help with my drinking or drug use.  My life has become unmanageable.  I can’t stop using by myself.  I can’t control my drinking or drug use.

Talk to someone you trust, that can support and motivate you.  Male, female, young or old – there is always an answer or options available.

SANCA Horizon Centre offers various programs facilitated by a multi disciplinary team.  Assessments, medical treatment, group and individual counselling as well as family therapy forms the basis of our holistic approach.

Phone us now and let us help you find out whether you have a problem and how we can help you. 


Call us on 011 917 5015


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Watching someone you love or care for destroy their lives by drinking or drugging, can be devastating.  Please be assured that there is hope available.

Keep note of incidents when your friend or loved one is intoxicated and diarize negative / troubled behaviour. Arrange a meeting but ensure that your friend or loved one is sober.  This is called constructive confrontation and can be facilitated amongst family or with the professionals at Horizon Center.

Stick to the facts.  Express your support and care.  Do not become aggressive or personal. State clearly your expectations, not allowing your loved one destroying him/herself anymore and the way forward in terms of treatment options available.

Schedule a booking for an appointment to determine the best option of treatment or support available. Support groups and therapy sessions are facilitated to family members and significant others.  


Call us on 011 917 5015


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Substance abuse in the workplace has become a realistic problem.  If you know of someone at work who is struggling with alcoholism or addiction call Horizon Center on 011 917 5015.


We can provide you with information or assist you with an intervention.

Substance abuse in the workplace is common, and this causes low productivity, absenteeism, poor performance, criminal activities such as theft and fraud and disputes with managers or supervisors.  Substance abuse also leads to greater health care expenses for injuries, illnesses and absenteeism. Furthermore, safety and other risks for employers can increase workers’ compensation and disability claims.

Unfortunately, many individuals with addiction may be in denial about the need for treatment.

If you need help or advice on how to deal with a colleague or staff member with a substance abuse problem we will work closely with you to define a suitable way forward. We also offer training programmes relating to substance abuse and addiction treatment with particular focus on training human resource professionals in dealing with substance dependence in the workplace.



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Get all relevant information from a specialized organisation such as SANCA. Take time to to talk to your child/learner about alcohol – and drug abuse.  Arguing won’t help them through their worries and problems. Obtain as much information as possible from your child/teenager/learner about the extent, duration and substance of abuse. Don’t dwell on horror stories of drug-taking.  For some one that has been using alcohol and drugs and enjoyed the effects, these stories can seem unbelievable and result to trust being broken. Take a strong position that drug use and abuse is unacceptable and know why.  This may require a frank discussion within the family and some soul-searching by all family members. Be aware that confrontation may develop and unpleasantness may ensue.  Do not back down, see it through.  Many young people only get into treatment after confrontation.

If your child / learner readily accepts help to deal with the problem, offer assessment at Horizon Center where various treatment options will be discussed.

Call us on 011 917 5015


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Drugs can be defined as dangerous mood-altering and dependence-forming substances.


The experience that a person has when using drugs will be affected by the:

Individual: Mood, physical size, gender, personality, expectations of the drug experience, whether the person has food in his/her stomach and whether other drugs have been taken.

Drug: The amount used, how it is used and the strength and purity of the drug.


We’ve listed some of the most popular drugs in SA to help you spot signs of addiction:

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Taken orally. Causes mental disorientation & lack of alertness.

If you’re dependent on alcohol, you increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke and/or coronary heart disease. It can also cause damage to the organs such as liver, kidnes, etc. Alcohol dependency can also lead to mental health-,  psychological -, serious social problems.

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Leafy green material (mixture of dried-out leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds of the Hemp plant). Smoked like a cigarette, sometimes with Tobacco. Distinctive “herbal” smell. Users may appear drowsy or lazy, ‘drunk’ of talkative.

If you’re dependent on Dagga (Cannabis, Dope, Marijuana), you increase your risk of brain damage, amnesia, sterility, toxic psychosis. 

Emphysema / Lung diseases, emotional problems, weakened liver functions, overall deterioration in health.


Heroin and Dagga smoked in a cigarette form. Highly addictive. Causes surge of euphoria, dry mouth, and heavy extremities.

Also see Heroin and Dagga


Methamphetamine is a white crystalline drug that people take by snorting it (inhaling through the nose), smoking it or injecting it with a needle. It causes high energy levels, over-alertness, increased physical activity, uncontrollable jerking body movements.

If you’re dependent on Tik / Crystal Meth, you increase your risk to insomnia, hallucinations, anxiety & paranoia. In some cases, it can cause convulsions that lead to death. Long term dependency can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, brain damage,  liver-, kidney and lung damage, severe tooth decay, depression.


Mostly in tablet form. It is usually smoked. The Mandrax tablet is usually crushed and mixed with Dagga and is then smoked in a Dagga pipe or better known as "Bottleneck". This is also known as the so-called "White pipe". Mandrax users will appear tired and sleepy or restless. Will have poor co-ordination and slurring of words.

If you’re dependent on Mandrax, you increase your risk of rapid weight loss, Headaches, serious emotional problems, depression, insomnia, epilepsy, impairment of liver function, emphysema and chronic lung infection, fatal thrombosis, convulsions.


Cocaine is fine white, odorless yet bitter-tasting crystalline powder commonly sniffed. Crack is a crystalised rock form often smoked. It is a stimulant and causes feelings happiness and excitement, self-confidence, and alertness, hallucination (high dose).

If you’re dependent on Cocaine / Crack you increase your risk of frequent nosebleeds and sinus problems, increased temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing, trouble sleeping, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, anxiety, paranoia, depression, tremors, muscle twitching, nausea, psychosis/ufufunyane with confused and disorganized behavior, cold sweats, Cocaine “bugs” (crawling, itching sensations as if insects were burrowing under the skin), overdosing and death.


Cream coloured powder. Heated on silver foil and fumed inhaled, also snorted or injected. Causes a very high level of alertness, followed by drunken appearance.

If you’re dependent on Heroin, you increase your risk of very serious decay of the body, heart valve regurgitation, brain damage, permanent damage to the kidneys, liver and the lungs, psychosis, personality changes, health problems such as HIV infection, skin infections, and other bacterial and viral infections, severe weight loss and loss of appetite, convulsions, coma and death from overdose.


White or off white powder, similar to cocaine, sold in vials & capsules. It’s a synthetic drug and is commonly made of ephedrine. Stimulant to the Central Nervous System and causes euphoria & increases alertness.

If you’re dependent on CAT, you increase your risk of destruction of nasal passages, stomach pains, nausea, dehydration, weight loss, loss of appetite, blurred vision, insomnia, hallucinations, rage psychosis, uncontrolled shaking, overdose and death.

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- Look at a pattern of change, not isolated changes

- Physical changes such as bloodshot eyes, headaches & changes in appetite & appearance

- Behavioural indicators such as aggressive outbursts & restlessness

- Emotional changes such as nervousness, lack of self-confidence & anxiety

- Social changes such as withdrawing from activities, new friends and school / work results / performance

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  • 1 in 2 school pupils experiment with drugs

  • 1 in 4 South African teens are addicted to drugs or alcohol

  • The starting age of substance abuse in 10 and younger

  • 80% of high school students regularly consumes alcohol & 30% of teenagers drink alcohol when they should be in school

  • 27% use illicit drugs

  • 46.40% of offenders who indicate substance use, are school drop-outs

  • S.A drug trade is up to 70%

  • Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm

  • While alcohol remains the most widely used and abused drug, Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug amongst students

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Why do young people use drugs / alcohol?

  • Peer Pressure: Teenagers want nothing more than to impress their peers. Teens’ self-worth depends on the approval of others, even if they know their behaviors are destructive and counter-productive.

  • Stress of life: Some youngsters can’t handle the pressure, and find an escape in drugs. It is their way to get away from reality.

  • Emotional pressure: Loneliness and depression raise emotional pressure.

  • Boredom: Boredom leads to experimentation. Bored teenagers are 50 percent more likely to smoke, drink, and use illegal drugs. Teens who can't talk to their parents are more likely to feel isolated, and use drugs.

  • Parental influence: The more teenagers are exposed to alcohol and other drug use, the more acceptable it becomes in their minds.

  • Media influence: Some teenagers believe drugs will help them think better, be more popular, stay more active, or become better athletes.

  • Ignorance: Teenagers who are uninformed of the consequences of drugs are more likely to use drugs.

  • Curiosity: Adolescents are curious about having new experiences.

  • To gain attention: Sometimes parents, teachers and other adults tend to spend more time dealing with troublemakers than praising teens for living up to  expectations or exceeding .

I think / know my child is abusing drugs / alcohol. What do I do?

  • Contact Sanca Horizon for assistance - 011 917 5015

  • Calmly sit down with your child & discuss your concerns. Don't be angry of blame them - they need your help. Involve a supportive family member

  • No shouting! Reassure the child of your love and support

  • Give clear messages that the use of drugs and alcohol is forbidden

  • Get to know your child's friends and their parents

  • Monitor your child's whereabouts, activities and set clear consistent limits

  • Keep pocket money to a minimum

  • Show a genuine interest in what they are doing

  • Be a good listener in a non-judgemental way

  • Involve them in decision making

  • Have rules & set clear boundaries

  • Stay up until they return home

  • Call friends' parents to ensure supervision


TEL: 011 917 5015


Anchor 10
When You Discover Your Teen is Using: Start Talking

Discovering that your son or daughter could be using drugs stirs up a lot of emotion. The best way to find out what’s going on, and to begin helping, is to start talking. Learn how to have a conversation instead of another confrontation. 

Set the Stage

Take a deep breath and set yourself up for success by creating a safe, open and comfortable space for to start talking with your son or daughter.

  • Hold off until she is not under the influence. Do not start a conversation when your child is drunk or high.

  • Get on his level, literally. If your child is sitting you want to be sitting as well.

  • Turn off all smartphones and don’t allow any interruptions while you’re talking.

  • Set some goals. What do you want your child to take away from the conversation? Try writing down your thoughts to review later.

  • Try to put any panic or anger aside. If you’re anxious, find a way calm yourself (take a walk, meditate) beforehand, like taking a walk or speaking with a friend for emotional support.

Establish a Good Connection

As angry or frustrated as you feel, keep reminding yourself to speak and listen from a place of love, support and concern.

  • Stay calm. Try to stay as relaxed as possible throughout the conversation.

  • Keep focused. Try your best not to overreact to what has already happened. Instead, focus on what you want for your child in the future.

  • Watch your voice. You may want to scream and yell, but it’s important to maintain the calm and avoid pushing your child away.

  • Body language counts. Be careful of finger-pointing and crossed arms – try a relaxed, open posture instead.

  • Listen as much as you talk. Be sure it’s a back-and-forth, not a lecture.

  • Try not to be defensive. Don’t take criticism personally. Let it be an opportunity for further discussion.

  • Focus completely on your child. Try to see things from his point of view. This will help you better sympathize.

  • Put yourself in your child’s shoes. How you would like to be addressed when speaking about a difficult topic?

  • Keep an open mind. If your child is feeling judged or condemned, she is less likely to be receptive to your message.

  • Recognize when you don’t have the energy to be a good listener and agree to restart the conversation (as long as it isn’t dire) at a later, better time.

Now You’re Talking

You’ve collected your thoughts and steeled your nerves, but how do you actually start talking? And more importantly, get your child to talk too?

  • Express how much you care. Explain that the reason you’re talking and asking questions is because you want her to be healthy and happy.

  • Let your child know you value his honesty and are willing to listen without making judgments.

  • Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that elicit more than just “yes” or “no.”

  • Let your child know you hear her. Reflect back on what you’re hearing by rephrasing and asking for input – “Did I get everything? – or with nonverbal cues like nodding and smiling.

  • Offer empathy and compassion. Demonstrate understanding and show your child you get it.

  • Show your concern. Tell your child that you’re worried about her (example, “You haven’t been yourself lately”).

  • Clearly state any evidence you’ve found. Example: “You’re not showering, your grades have dropped, and I found empty beer cans in your car.”

  • Give lots of praise and positive feedback. Teens and young need to know you can still see beyond the things they’ve done wrong. Find the positives in a situation, no matter how hard it may seem.

  • Remind your child of your support. Reassure her that you can always be counted on for support and that she can confide in or seek advice from you whenever it’s needed.

  • Show your love. Physical connection is important. Put a hand on your child’s shoulder or give him a hug when it feels right.

  • Consider sharing your memories. Share a story of when you were a teen or young adult and the mistakes you made.

  • Listen to your child vent. Sometimes she just needs to complain and get things off her chest.

  • Be aware that your child could be hiding his true feelings out of fear, embarrassment, or something else. Be careful to not just take what he says at face value.

  • Listen between the words. Pay attention to body language, facial expressions and difficulty finding the right words to use.

  • Thank your child for talking with you. Even if the conversation didn’t go exactly as planned, your gratitude will make your child feel good and shows it was important to you.

Break Through Barriers

It can be difficult to get past a flat-out denial of drug or alcohol use from your son or daughter. Some kids can’t bear to take responsibility for their behavior and want to look good at all costs.

  • Be firm and loving.

  • Don’t yell. Remain calm. It’s harder to fight with – or storm off from – a calm person than it is from somebody who is yelling at you.

  • Focus on the behavior and why it worries you. Don’t make it sound like you think your child is a bad person because he has tried drugs or alcohol. If your child is preoccupied with framing the discussion around trust, keep emphasizing your concerns for her health and safety.

  • Insist on the value of truth telling. Explain that people trust you more when you are honest; that honesty is a highly-respected trait that requires courage and independent thought; and usually liars get caught in their lies.

  • Think beforehand about how you could verify her claims and bring them up – for example, if your daughter says she spent the day at a friend’s house, tell her you may need to call her friend’s mom to check on the story.

  • If you have objective proof that your teen or young adult is lying, bring it up – but try not to make it a triumph or contest. It’s not about winning the argument or proving he or she lied to you, it’s about keeping your child safe.

  • Try to find out why he lied instead of going straight to reprimanding him for it. Keep talking and let your child know that you will get to the truth no matter how many conversations it takes and that you will do everything available to keep him/her safe and away from drugs.

  • Set clear consequences so your child knows what will happen if he repeats problematic behavior in the future, whether it’s actual drug use or overstepping other limits related to drug or alcohol use.

  • Consider granting immunity. Some young people get caught in a web of lies and can’t get out. You can sometimes help by offering a chance to clear the record. Tell her that if she tells the truth there will be no immediate consequences but she’ll have to conduct herself differently in the future. And if she doesn’t, she’ll be held accountable.

  • Reward honesty in the future. If your daughter opens up to you and tells you the truth about something that perhaps isn’t so easy for her – be sure to tell her that you’re proud of her for doing so.

Keep the Conversation Going

Have you succeeded in having a productive conversation? Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, but don’t stop there. Keep talking and keep the dialogue open.

  • Review your goals to see which ones were met (and if they were met effectively) and which will be saved for a later date.

  • Reflect on what went right and what went wrong during each conversation so that you can make improvements for next time.

  • Make a list and tackle any follow-up items (ex: understanding more about your child’s anxiety and finding ways to help her.)

  • Set up and use family meetings to full advantage. Get input from each person on rules, curfews and on the consequences of breaking rules.

























Realizing that your teen or young adult child needs help for his or her substance use can be scary and overwhelming, and chances are you have no idea where to begin. There is no one-size-fits-all answer so it can take a fair amount of research to figure out what type of help your child needs, and how to get it. No matter where you are emotionally, mentally or physically, we’re here to help.

What is Treatment?

For most people, “treatment” for substance use conjures images of detox or a residential rehab facility. In reality, detox (detoxification) is not treatment, and a residential program is just one of a variety of options. Treatment can take place in different forms, settings and for different lengths of time. Addiction is a manageable but chronic disease, just like diabetes or asthma. Because it is a chronic, relapsing disease, treatment should not be approached as a way to “cure” your loved one. It is a first step in helping your child learn how to manage his or her addiction.

How to Find the Right Treatment

Getting the right treatment for your child is a process, and navigating the current systems in place requires due diligence and perseverance. 

  • EDUCATE YOURSELF. One of the most important things you can do to help your child is to educate yourself about substance use disorders, what quality treatment consists of, and the types of programs available. Using the various resources offered here on this site is a great start.

  • GET A SCREENING ASSESSMENT. In order to determine the severity of the issue and an appropriate level of care, you may wish to have a substance use counselor take an assessment. It should include a thorough look at the extent of your child’s drug and alcohol use, your child’s mental and physical health as well as personal, medical and family history.

  • NETWORK. Talk to the people around you. You may feel like keeping your child’s drug or alcohol problem a secret, but you shouldn’t. Addiction is a chronic disease, not a moral failing on your part or your child’s part. The people you’re hiding from maybe the same people who could connect you to needed help, offer support or a shoulder to cry on.

  • UNDERSTAND THE OPTIONS. There are many types of treatment services available, in a variety of settings, including outpatient, inpatient, and residential. 

  • CONSIDER LOCATION. Family involvement is a critical element of adolescent and young adult treatment, making the location an important factor. If you live in an area that doesn’t have the level of care your child needs, and you choose remote care, discuss with the programme how your family will be involved (e.g. phone or video calls, emails, family visits, etc.).

  • MAKE CALLS, ASK QUESTIONS. You can’t be sure if a program is the best fit for your child unless you get to talk to the people there and ask the right questions. It will be time-consuming — but worth it.

Getting Your Child Into Treatment

Understandably, you may have concerns about actually getting your child to begin treatment. Many good treatment programmes know how to engage teens and young adults in treatment and to help them recognize the importance of it. You can always seek help from the facility you have selected. This is a good opportunity to talk to your child about your concerns for his or her life, health, and safety, and about how entering treatment may be a little scary but it’s a step toward a healthier life.


Taking Care of Yourself

Although you are probably not thinking about yourself right now, one of the smartest things you can do for your child in trouble and your family is to take care of yourself so that you remain strong, healthy, and sane. Seeking professional counselling for yourself is just as important as getting help for your addicted child. While your child is battling an alcohol or other drug problem, you’re also likely struggling with some overwhelming feelings of fear, anger, resentment, guilt or shame, among others. Physical symptoms like migraine headaches, insomnia and upset stomach or indigestion are not uncommon. Embracing the notion of self-care at a time when it feels like your world is crumbling will be more of challenge for some than for others. But the need for self-care, and its benefits to not just yourself, but your entire family, can’t be overlooked or overstated. 





















Getting your child treatment for, say, cancer presents numerous challenges — but most of them don’t involve determining whether the therapies offered by major medical organizations are backed by data. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the predicament facing many parents seeking help for children with drug problems.

Because there is no “FDA” that regulates behavioural treatments, many drug programmes have no research evidence for their effectiveness or even safety — and parents can be misled into placing their children into such rehabs. 


  • It’s the first major effort to offer guidance to parents of teens with drug problems that focus on the right care, versus any care, and the first to recognize that the wrong care can do harm.

  • Appropriate assessment of teen behaviour is crucial because the line between normal and unhealthy behaviour can be hard for parents to discern. Since many treatment programmes focus on getting teens to accept that they have a drug problem, it’s important to determine first whether or not that is truly the case. Assessment can also determine whether there’s another mental illness like depression that could be driving the drug disorder. About half of all teens who have drug problems have an additional psychiatric condition, which left unaddressed can stymie drug treatment. Assessment can help determine the necessary level of care, too: as with other areas of medicine, starting with the least intensive treatment is best.

  • It is essential to find a programme designed for teens that doesn’t just throw them in with adult patients. “The mixing of young people and older people in a therapeutic setting can pose a lot of problems ranging from safety — emotional and sexual things that can be problematic and lead to abuse and trauma — to even just being uncomfortable,” says Winters. “Imagine you’re a young person and you’re in group with many older individuals. You might not open up.”

The reality is that finding effective treatment based on research, which doesn’t take the punitive approach, can be difficult.






































The end of substance use treatment is just the beginning of the road to recovery. Your child will need your help and support to get there.

Keeping Your Child Healthy Following Treatment

Many parents expect their child to be “fixed” following treatment, but addiction and substance use disorders can be a lifelong, relapsing disease that requires ongoing management. The initial completion of treatment is just the beginning of what may be a longer road to recovery. Your child will need help to manage his or her recovery over time.

"How many times have some of us tried to diet, exercise or quit smoking? It isn’t always one and done. Seldom is there one straight path out of the woods." - Paul Kusiak















































































Anchor 11
Navigate the Addiction Treatment System
Anchor 12
Finding the Best Treatment for Your Teen
Anchor 13
Staying on the Road to Recovery Following Treatment
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