Opiate Substitution Treatment Programme showing world-class results

Albert Fritz MPP

Western Cape Minister of Social Development

The Western Cape Government is proud to be at the forefront of the fight against drug and substance abuse in the province.

The Western Cape as a society faces serious social problems related to drug and alcohol abuse, and our approach as government is to focus on awareness, early intervention, statutory services and aftercare support programmes.

Over the last five years we have more than doubled the substance abuse budget, and will be spending just over R82.6 million during this financial year.

In response to the rising trend of opiate based drugs, such as heroin, one of the most innovative projects initiated by the Department of Social Development with our NGO partner, Sultan Bahu, is the Opiate Substitution Treatment Programme in Mitchells Plain.

At only 8 months of operation it is registering encouraging results, and the first two intake cycles of clients are responding positively.

The latest report indicates that of the first cycle of clients, 16 out of 21 clients (76.5%) who completed their statutory phase, are still testing negative for illicit substance use in their continuum of care.

The second cycle of 24 clients is currently undergoing treatment, and only 4 are testing positive, an encouraging drug-free percentage of 83.3% of clients.

These results are truly world-class, as they far exceed the treatment outcome expectations reported in international literature.

Ofcourse such results are only possible if we continue to adopt our whole-of-society approach to tackling substance abuse, and continue building partnerships. The department will continue working with other departments such as education, community safety and cultural affairs & sports, and NGOs such as Sultan Bahu.

The continued success of our interventions will also strongly depend on partnerships with communities and citizens, especially parents, taking responsibility for their own and their children’s lives by not abusing drugs and alcohol.  We will only be able to successfully tackle the scourge of substance abuse, including heroin addiction, if we work “Better Together”.