In this context, recovery refers to returning to a normal state of life after suffering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). For some clients, recovery just means ‘quitting or cutting back on the use of substances’. They do not understand the need to take care of other basic things like proper nutrition, personal hygiene, mending broken relationships, dealing with shame and guilt, money management and even something as basic as what sorts of leisure activities that are appropriate for them.
As a matter of fact, recovery is not complete until all those other aspects of life mentioned earlier are taken care of.
However, there are certain obstacles that may hinder a client form receiving timely and quality treatment. Let us take a look at a few.
Access to Treatment
Unfortunately, unlike other main stream health facilities, Substance Use Treatment Facilities are kind of hard to find in Ghana. Apart from the few concentrated in the capital Accra, and a few others in the Ashanti Region (New Hope Wellness Centre and others), there is one Psychiatric Hospital in the Central Region (Ankarful Hospital) which also does treatment of SUDs, one in the Western Region (Holy Family Health Centre), another one in the Upper East Region (LOAD Ghana) and as far as I know, there are not really any specifically dedicated treatment facilities in the rest of the other eleven (11) regions. Clients in those places therefore have to travel long distances and sometimes be on a waiting list to get into treatment.
This situation has turned off so many clients who may have gone into treatment immediately if there was a place ready for them as soon as they decided to go into treatment. You would ask, ‘why would they not wait to get in if they were really ready?’ The answer to that is, ‘Substance Use Disorder is a brain disease which affects all aspects of the clients life, including motivation, which is very necessary for anyone to make and sustain any decision.’
Cost of Treatment
Residential treatment is not free. Detoxification which is usually done to help clients handle withdrawal symptoms better and safer, then prepare them for treatment ranges from GHS 1,000 to GHS 2,500. Treatment which usually lasts for about 90 days, costs between GHS 1,000 and GHS 4,000 every 30 days. That’s something not every one can afford, making it practically impossible for some people desperately in need of treatment to get.
There are however a few ‘free’ treatment facilities around who are providing shelter, food and some form of security for people who cannot afford to pay for the treatment but are ready to get into treatment. Remar Association Ghana is one example of such facilities.
Quality of Treatment
The other day I was telling a colleague that, ‘drug addiction treatment is the only field in which most people of any background, without any training, certification or experience feel that they have a right to jump in and help because they think it is just about providing food, shelter and advice and that settles it. If they did that in any other areas of the health sector, they would be arrested and prosecuted for being quacks’.
Because of that mentality, some ‘treatment centres’ are just temporary shelters and some drug addiction counsellors are just caretakers. Other facilities treat clients like mental health patients; so its all about anti-psychotic medication all through the 90 or more days, both situations increasing the likelihood of relapse in clients exponentially.
I must admit however that, in recent years, some facilities have invested in training their employees and are doing excellently well. A good example is the Drug Treatment Facility at the Pantang Hospital in Accra.
Drugs are like slow acting poison, gradually destroying the internal organs and eventually ending the individual. The human body is however able to recover a great deal after drug use has stopped, leading to an improved health and a general feeling of wellbeing.
Improved Quality of Life
Good health brings with it the strength and power to pursue good jobs, educational opportunities and better relationships that will lead to a better quality of life.
Better Life Prospects
Good health and quality of life puts an individual in a position to access the very best opportunities.
I always tell my clients that, ‘no employer will employ or keep an employee who is deep in the throws of SUD, no sound man or woman will be in any serious relationship with anyone deep in SUD, nobody respects people who are actively using drugs. However, the hope of recovery, opens new windows of opportunities and possibilities that cannot be imagined’.
It is not too late, reach out if you need help. If you have no money, you can try Remar Association, a Christian NGO which tries to provide shelter, food and social support while you go through the process of recovery. Some people have gone through those doors and have been successful, why not you?
This article does not aim to promote or criticize any facility, it is just serving as a source of useful information for those who may require it.