Shaun Shelly

I am an addictions specialist working in Cape Town, affiliated with the Addictions Division: Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town where I am completing my MPhil in Addictions Mental Health.  I am committed to furthering the understanding and treatment of addiction, as well as advocating for changes to drug policies at local and national level. I am also an activist for homeless rights. I am also a member of the South African Addiction Medicine Society (SAAMS168).

I am the psychosocial and advocacy coordinator for the TB/HIV Care Association StepUp Project which aims to demonstrate the feasibility of delivering HIV prevention and harm reduction services to people who inject drugs.

My current research is on the perceptions and experiences of heroin users accessing medically assisted treatment.

I am developing a cumulative continuum based model for addiction treatment that embraces both harm reduction and abstinence approaches within the same framework so as to provide appropriate levels of intervention according to the patient needs, stage of change and desired goals.

The other things that I devote my time to are:
  • Lecturing as part of the Post Graduate Diploma in Addictions Care at the University of Cape Town Department of Psychiatry
  • Talks at various academic forums around addiction
  • Various other projects in the addictions field
  • The Street People's Forum
I have a very limited number of spaces for private clients who have issues with drug use and addictive behaviours. I use a non-abstinence based harm reduction approach to help the individual achieve the changes they desire.

For my articles about addiction issues, please visit my Addiction Information Website




"I would like to say that I was given all the care and therapy that I needed to help me overcome my addiction."

"I've come to have faith and hope in my future. You have given me the opportunity to turn my life around because I was at a point where I was about to give up"

"I have walked a long, dark journey and finally there seems to be major hope and light. This has been a life-changing experience for me and had I not gotten this opportunity I would not even want to begin to think about where my addiction might have taken me."

"I wanted to tell you, I just signed papers for my very own pension fund. I never thought I would see this day. Thank you Shaun, a bit of stability is wonderful for me, without you it would not be at all possible."




I am currently an M(Phil) Addictions Mental Health candidate at the University of Cape Town Department of Psychiatry.

Apart from my own personal experience with addiction, and the experiences I have gained working in both in and outpatient settings, I have studied and qualified through UNISA and Stellenbosch University Department of Psychiatry, specialising in addiction.



Quoted in The Herald

The Stellenbosch University website article on addiction.

Radio Interview on Radio Jacaranda around my experience with homelessness.

Radio interview with John Maytham around park benches.

The letter about park benches in City Press and the original letter on Facebook.

Article in Rapport.