98% of Tik Patients Seen in All Provinces Come from Cape Town - Medical Research Council

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BYLINE: JESSICA BELL

DRUG treatment services in the Western Cape are limited, and multiple barriers still exist which prevent people from historically disadvantaged communities from getting accessto care, Medical Research Council (MRC) spokesperson Bronwyn Myers says.

There must be a greater allocation of resources to improve services and to educate people about where, whe, and how to get access to them, Myers, a specialist scientist in the alcohol and drug abuse research unit at the MRC, said yesterday.

Myers, who was speaking at a pre-congress workshop for the 10th annual International Society of Addicted Medicine (Isam) conference which starts in Cape Town today, said three key interventions were needed to tackle the drug crisis in the Western Cape.

These are the provision of mobile clinics to combat geographical barriers to services, mapping tools to ensure that resources were allocated in the areas of greatest need and quality assurance mechanisms to improve services.

Poor service availability, including a lack of free treatment centres and long delays in getting access to treatment, coupled with limited awareness of where and how to get access to services, prevented many drug users from seeking help, she said.

According to the MRC, Cape Town is the tik (methamphetamine) capital of South Africa, with 98% of methamphetamine patients seen in all the provinces coming from Cape Town.

"Do current treatment services meet the demand for MA (methamphetamine)-related addictions? …