MEC Patricia De Lille's Task Team Releases Results of Preliminary Ministerial Enquiry into James Restoration Home
Social Development Minister Patricia de Lille has released the results of the Preliminary Ministerial Enquiry into conditions at James Restoration Home, two of whose patients, Ashley Haas and Brent Florence, were tragically swept out to sea on Monday 25 October, during an SABC Fokus shoot at the Wolfgat Nature Reserve.
This was the first task of the six-member Ministerial Task Team for Alcohol and Other Drugs.
"The findings of the Preliminary Report are cause for serious concern," Ms De Lille says.
"Although we understand and appreciate that there are many Good Samaritans helping with the scourge of drug abuse in our communities and we admire their commitment and passion, they have to work within the framework of the law, because the law ensures that patients are given professional care," says De Lille.
Doing the wrong things, even for the right reasons, can cause real damage to those in need of help.
A statement from James Restoration Home, released shortly after the passing of the two young men, claimed its owner had "never advertised or referred to her home as a rehab centre", and that "substance abuse is not the focus of James Restoration Home..."
The Preliminary Report from the Department team that visited the Home the day after the drowning identified the following risk factors:
- Detox medication is administered without on-site medical supervision by suitably trained professionals
- The Home does not employ any professionals suitably trained for rehabilitation programmes
- The Home has no apparent board of governance
- No staff are employed - instead, those on the programme who have shown progress are the "facilitators"
- Contrary to the requirements of the law, there is no programme, or documented norms and standards, etc, for the facility
- Residential conditions are not conducive - there are health, safety and fire concerns, although this is the duty of the City of Cape Town
- Currently there are 14 young men resident at the facility. They are housed in a "wendyhouse" behind the main house
The Director has been ordered to place a freeze on new admissions until the situation has been resolved.
The Department's preliminary recommendations are as follows:
- A full-scale investigation will be conducted into the operations of the facility - the completion date is 19 November 2010
- An assessment of the needs of each resident client will be conducted by suitably qualified professionals - the completion date is 12 November 2010
- Any residents requiring placement into a registered, formal rehabilitation centre will be placed there at no cost to themselves or their families
- All clients found to be in need of 'In-patient Detoxification' will be transferred with immediate effect to a registered detoxification facility
- The Department of Health will to be approached to investigate the health aspects of the illegal facility
"According to the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act of 1992 (amended in 1996) it is a criminal offence to run an unregistered rehabilitation centre," says De Lille.
Of the 26 registered drug rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape, 5 are funded by the Department.
The Department has for some time been aware of 9 illegal drug rehabilitation centres, excluding James Restoration Home, all of which we instructed to close down," De Lille says.
The job of the Task Team going forward is to identify and inspect unregistered rehabilitation centres, in some cases shut them down and in others to help them comply with the norms and standards contained in the Act.
"The Department is extremely aware of our province's need for more rehabs," says De Lille.
"I would like to call on parents, families and relatives of anyone needing to go to a rehabilitation centre to always ask to see the centre's registration certificate," says De Lille.
You can also visit the closest Social Development office, or call our helpline, 0800 220 250, to find a drug rehabilitation centre in your area.
"The Department would also like to call on all the illegal centres in the province to come forward so that we can assist them to comply with the law,' De Lille says.
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