Western Cape Releases Funds for Substance Abuse Treatment
As part of its strategy to reduce drug- and alcohol-related harms in the Western Cape, the Department of Social Development has this week paid R1.7 million to 22 NGOs working in the substance abuse sector. This is the first round of funding for the sector this year of a total of R77 million allocated for this purpose. The department has increased its funding allocations to address harmful drug and alcohol use by nearly 90% in the past three years, from R42 million in 2009 to R77 million this financial year.
In response to the rise in the harmful use of drugs and alcohol in the province over the past ten years, the Western Cape Government is moving towards an integrated services model, as set out in the Provincial Blueprint for Prevention and Treatment of Harmful Drug and Alcohol Use. This includes a range of interventions.
Firstly, we have expanded state-funded treatment programmes from seven in 2009 to 22 this year, and we now cater for over 5 000 patients per year. This includes four school-based pilot treatment programmes for under 16s, which serve at six schools in the province.
Secondly, following international best practice recommended by the UNODC, we have taken prevention to our school system by introducing drug education into the Life Orientation teaching material for Grade 11. This has been distributed by the WCED to all schools for the 2012 academic year. The teaching material was developed at Stellenbosch University using evidence-based principles of drug prevention and education. Work is commencing on alcohol and drug education material for Life Orientation in Grades 5 and 9 for the 2013 academic year.
Thirdly, we have extended provision for brief intervention services to 4 000 clients this year, up from 2 400 in 2010/2011 to 2 580 in 2011/2012. This includes screening, assessment, brief intervention and referral services at GF Jooste Hospital, Khayelitsha Site B Clinic, Elsie's River Clinic and Khayelitsha Hospital Trauma Ward, in partnership with the Department of Health. These projects are aimed at helping people who are hospitalised for drug- or alcohol-related harms to change their behaviour or find their way to proper treatment programmes after being discharged.
Fourthly, we have introduced extensive stepped-down or aftercare services for people discharged from rehabilitation programmes to help reduce relapse rates. Two years ago these services were not offered by the state, and we experienced high relapse rates in treatment programmes. This year, we now offer aftercare for a total of 3 500 people.
We will continue to work with our service delivery partners to address harmful drug and alcohol use and we value the work done by many NGOs in making the lives of the people in this province better together.
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