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Drug treatment centres come under the spotlight Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 February 2016

Media Statement

The Department of Social Development has initiated a national audit of in- and out-patient substance dependency treatment centres.  The audit aims to assess and monitor compliance with any prescribed requirements and applicable minimum norms and standards for treatment centres and halfway houses.

Numerous research studies have indicated that the prevalence of substance abuse in South Africa has reached significant proportions within the youth and adult population. According to the Global Status report on alcohol and health (2011), the hazardous and harmful use of alcohol is a major global contributing factor to death, disease and injury.

In order to address the challenge, anti-substance interventions are rendered in line with the three pillars of Supply Reduction, Demand Reduction and Harm Reduction. Government’s Anti-substance Abuse Campaign is central to Demand Reduction whilst Treatment in both in- and out-patient facilities forms part of Harm Reduction.

South Africa has a number of treatment facilities owned by government, the non-governmental sector as well as the private sector. The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) stipulates that no person may establish or manage any treatment centre unless such treatment centre is registered as per the prescripts of the Act.

Treatment centres are registered once government is satisfied that they are or will be managed and conducted in such a way that the reception, maintenance, treatment, rehabilitation and skills development of service users complies with the prescribed requirements.

Whilst government is aware of the registered treatment facilities, further information is required in respect of the services provided as well as the physical condition of the facilities. Government is also aware that there are a number of unregistered facilities in operation for which limited information is available.

The Standard Statement outlined in the Minimum Norms and Standards for Treatment Centres directs that the rights and legal status of the patients / clients [must be] upheld by the treatment Centre within an ethos of patient / client dignity, appropriate treatment provision and respect for human rights.

As such, the audit will be undertaken to provide government with accurate information about both registered and unregistered substance dependency treatment facilities, as well as make recommendations to the facilities on meeting the required norms and standards and / or register.

The audit also aims to ascertain the accessibility of treatment centres in order to guide planning for the establishment of centres around the country. There are currently eight (8) public inpatient treatment centres located in the Western Cape (3), KwaZulu Natal (2), Mpumalanga (1), Gauteng (1), and Limpopo (1).

The monitoring and assessment team will look into compliance with the prescribed requirements and applicable norms and standards in relation to:

• the records and documents of the treatment centre or halfway house;

• any service users admitted or accommodated in such treatment centre or halfway house; and

• the programmes provided by such treatment centre or halfway house.

The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act permits the monitoring and assessment team to interview any service user or persons affected by substance abuse admitted in a treatment centre or halfway house; and, with the consent of any service user or persons affected by substance abuse, cause such persons to be medically examined by a medical practitioner in a health establishment.

The Department requests assistance from the media, treatment centre owners, municipalities and communities in identifying unregistered centres. Treatment centre practitioners are urged to co-operate with the enumerators who will be conducting the field work.

The final audit report is expected at the end of March 2016.

 -Ends-

Media inquiries may be directed to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it