Parker, Marlon, Wills, Julia and Wills, Gary
Reconstructed Living Lab: Supporting drug users and families though co-operative counselling using mobile phone technology
South African Journal of Family Practice, 52, (3), .
Microsoft Word MParkerJGWillsFinalNov20112009ProofDraft1.doc
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Background, There is a recognised problem with drug taking in South Africa. In socially deprived areas immediate help for drug users and their family is a problem. As part of their work into a community in tension Impact Direct Ministries (IDM) and Reconstructed Living Lab (Rlabs) in Cape Town provides a drug advisory service using mobile phone technology that can support multiple conversations. It is staffed by trained volunteers and is available to drug users and their families. Methods, This paper investigates historical counselling help for drug users. It explains how important family involvement is, in the life-changing process; and the importance of co-operative counselling. The Drug Advice Support (DAS) service provided by the Reconstructed Living Lab is introduced as a case to explore how mobile technology can support the co-operative counselling model in a Living Labs context. Results, The advantages of the DAS technology and what it offers to community-based organisations are discussed. Data on relatives of drug users using the system is included. Conclusion The conclusion of the paper is that the minimal cost to the person in crisis and the organisation is an advantage for community-based organisations acting as a first point of contact to drug users and their families. The co-operative counselling model it employs is also of benefit. As the community in tension is becoming aware of the service family members are receiving help and support which will increase in time.
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