Substance Abuse Bill to Focus More on Prevention

Cape Times (South Africa), January 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

Substance Abuse Bill to Focus More on Prevention


BYLINE: STAFF WRITER

UNLIKE its predecessor, the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill will focus on substance abuse prevention and non-institutional treatment - two aspects the Department of Social Development has said are absent from the current Act.

"We've reviewed it completely," said director of substance abuse for the Department of Social Development, Conny Nxumalo, emphasising that this was not an update of the existing legislation.

"It's completely different legislation."

The bill aims to highlight the issues of prevention and community-based intervention as well as early intervention - factors not addressed previously, she said, adding that prevention was given a paragraph in the old legislation.

Whereas outpatient services were not previously registered, the new bill seeks to register all kinds of programmes, including those in treatment centres and halfway houses - to make the fight against substance abuse more of a co-ordinated effort, Nxumalo said.

"We are aware there are also out-patient services not registered so we've brought that in."

Research and information management is also a new focus as the department realised that research was "not really collected in a uniform, integrated way".

Evidence-based research indicating trends could, however, assist policy development.

The proposed law, to be introduced in parliament this year, would replace the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act of 1992.

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