Sharing the facts ahead of World Drug Day | Western Cape Government


Sharing the facts ahead of World Drug Day

25 June 2021

The Department of Social Development encourages members of the public to seek help and information from reputable sources and registered substance use treatment facilities, as this could assist with saving and changing lives.

Tomorrow, 26 June, marks annual International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day. More than 36 million people across the world suffered from substance use disorders in the last year, according to the 2021 World Drug Report released yesterday by the United Nationals Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Themed “Share facts on drugs. Save lives”, the report emphasises the importance of strengthening the evidence base and raising public awareness, so that the international community, governments, civil society, families and youth can make informed decisions, better target efforts to prevent and treat drug use, and tackle world drug challenges.

In the Western Cape, there are several myths that persist around substance use disorder, and the treatment thereof.

Myth: People with drug and alcohol use disorders have to hit rock bottom before they can get better.

Fact: Treatment or interventions can begin at any point of recovery. The earlier help is obtained, the better.

Myth: Treatment didn't work before, so there’s no point in trying again.

Fact: Recovery from substance use disorder is a long, ongoing process. Relapses and setbacks may happen. This is why aftercare services, such as the attendance of support groups, are important.

Myth: The more you pay for treatment, the more effective it is.

Fact: The effectiveness of treatment is not dependent on the cost paid and is largely dependent on the client’s willingness and motivation for change.

All operating substance use treatment facilities must be registered in accordance with prescribed norms and standards to ensure compliance to elements such as treatment protocols, a multidisciplined team of professionals, quality of interventions, policy guidance, and client protection measures. The Department also offers assistance to organisations who wish to become registered. Information about how to become registered can be found by on the department’s website.

The Department has budgeted R102 million this year for substance programmes and services.

Together with its NPO partners, the following services are available:

  • Awareness, primary prevention, early intervention and aftercare services;
  • Residential or in-patient treatment centres and community-based treatment centres for adults;
  • Reintegration and after-care support;
  • School-based programs at identified high-risk schools aimed at early detection and appropriate interventions for children involved in substance abuse.

Finding the right help:

When accessing help for substance use disorder, it is important to check that the facility is registered by the Department of Social Development.

To check the registration status of a treatment facility, email

For more information visit or contact us on the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.

Media Enquiries: 

Esther Lewis

Head of Communications

Department of Social Development