The Western Cape Department of Social Development continues to be at the forefront of the fight against substance abuse, focusing on rendering -Early intervention, Inpatient treatment, Community based treatment, and aftercare services. The budget for the substance abuse program for the19/20 financial year is R66. 518 million, while a further R43 million for two residential drug treatment centres and drug treatment in its secure care child and youth care centres.
The Department currently funds 6 NGO-run inpatient treatment facilities,13 Community based treatment NGOs which render treatment across 30 sites, 21 NGOs which render early intervention services from 29 sites and 10 NGOs which render aftercare services across 16 sites. Furthermore, on our registration database, we currently have 29 registered inpatient treatment centres, 3 registered halfway houses and 61 registered community based services.
In the past 5 years specialised school based programs have been introduced in 10 high risk schools to ensure early detection as well as learner and educator support. The Department also expanded early intervention services by subsidizing and increasing the number of social work posts it funds at various Organisations and Community based treatment sites, especially in the Beaufort West, Ceres and Worcester areas.
In the 2018/2019 reporting period we have verified that 666 service users received inpatient treatment, 3337 received community based treatment, 4697 received early intervention services, 1833 aftercare services and 4456 members of the public received awareness and prevention services.
“We have specifically targeted treating young people, in order to address the rising tide of youth alcohol and drug usage,” says Minister Fernandez.
DSD recognizes that substance abuse is a specialist service and has ensured that bursaries for post – graduate specialist training at the University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch. The University of the Western Cape also provides an under-graduate certificate course for non – professional recovery assistants currently working at treatment centres.
The Department is continuously working to expand the reach and quality of its substance abuse treatment and intervention services, although budget availability has become a barrier to coverage in all areas of need in the province.
According to the data of the latest SACENDU report (January – June 2018) a total number of 3182 people accessed treatment in the Western Cape across 35 specialist treatment centres. 31% of these service users were engaged in inpatient treatment and 69% in community based treatment. The Department also funds 50 facilities and organizations to provide early intervention and reintegration in the Western Cape.
“Our services are here to help the public, not judge those who are suffering from substance abuse,” says Minister Fernandez.