The Community Oriented Substance Use Programme (COSUP) is a community-based harm reduction programme for people who use/d drugs that focuses on opioid substitution therapy (OST), needle and syringe exchange programme (NSP), counseling, and skills development. The programme has sites all across Tshwane.
As part of their community service learning placement, fourth-year students from the University of Pretoria’s Department of Occupational Therapy provide support to the COSUP programme in Mamelodi at three sites, namely Ikageng, Lusaka, and Mamelodi Regional Hospital.
The clients attending COSUP group sessions identified the need to create awareness around how their lives were and are affected by substances, and to leave a legacy by encouraging youth to make positive choices.
The clients mentioned that when they were younger their grandparents told them stories from the past. Unfortunately, this tradition is slowly fading away. During one of the occupational therapy group sessions at COSUP Ikageng, the clients had the opportunity to express their stories in a visual format, in mediums such as collaging, timelines, drawings, and creative writing,
Following on from this, and as part of the UP-OHFC story-telling project, the clients will have the opportunity to use these visual representations to verbally share their stories. These stories will be recorded and compiled into a digital resource that can be shared with decision-makers, to understand the lived realities of people who use/d drugs. This storytelling project will be implemented at other COSUP sites as well.