Reconstructed Living Lab: supporting drug users and families through co-operative counselling using mobile phone technology

  • MB Parker
  • J Wills
  • GB Wills
Keywords: community-based organisation, Living Labs, drug users’ families, co-operative counselling, mobile phones


Background: There is a recognised problem with drug taking in South Africa. In socially deprived areas immediate help for drug users and their families is a problem. As part of their work in a community in tension, Impact Direct Ministries (IDM) and Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) in Cape Town provide 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 article investigates historical counselling help for drug users. It explains the importance of family involvement in the life-changing process of a drug user and the importance of co-operative counselling. The Drug Advice Support (DAS) service provided by IDM and RLabs is introduced as a case study to explore how mobile phone technology can support the co-operative counselling model in a Living Lab 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 are included. Conclusion: The use of mobile phone technology has advantages for community-based organisations acting as a first point of contact to drug users and their families. Minimal cost to the person in crisis and the organisation serves as an example. The co-operative counselling model it employs is also of benefit. As the community experiencing tension due to the problem of drug abuse becomes aware of this service, help and support for family members will increase in time.

Keywords: community-based organisation; Living Labs; drug users’ families; co-operative counselling; mobile phones


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-6204
print ISSN: 2078-6190