How former drug addict helps Pretoria youth kick the habit

Itumeleng Selepi founder of Word on the Streets, an organisation for drug addicts.
Itumeleng Selepi founder of Word on the Streets, an organisation for drug addicts.
Image: Supplied.

Itumeleng Selepi has been addicted to just about every drug in the market. From Cat to cocaine, Selepi lost a lot of family members and friends battling his drug addiction. His addiction got to such an extreme that he had to be shackled when he finally found help at a rehabilitation centre in Mabopane, north of Pretoria.

Having spent four years clean, Selepi was touched when he noticed how people negatively reacted to addicts living on the street. Realising there is a problem that needs to be solved Selepi started Word on the Streets, an organisation that helps drug addicts who have nowhere else to seek help.

“I came up with the name because of what is happening. Drugs are everywhere,” says Selepi, “We want to know what is happening out there.”

Over the last three months, Selepi has helped more than 10 youths kick the habit. The youngest of these is seven years old. Word on the Streets has a number of mentors who help addicts through their journey out of the habit.

While it has been easier targeting younger addicts, Selepi notes that it's been a serious challenge extending a helping hand to older addicts, asserting that Word on the Streets opens its doors to all ages.

“Anybody that has a problem can come. Even if you relapse, you can still come through.”​

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