The Department of Social Development is urging South Africans to participate in providing comments on the gazetted Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorder Policy. SANews reports that the department gazetted the substance use policy for public comments and inputs on 10 November 2023, highlighting the urgency of addressing the persistent challenge of alcohol and drug misuse and abuse, particularly among children. The deadline for submitting comments and inputs is 10 December 2023, as stated in the department’s official statement.
You can submit comments to [email protected], and the gazette is available at https://www.dsd.gov.za/index.php/gazzette?task=download.send&id=541&catid=49&m=0. The Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorder Policy aims to establish a comprehensive framework to address challenges related to alcohol and other drugs faced by communities. It outlines feasible strategies for managing substance use disorders. It allows for various stakeholders to participate in prevention and treatment efforts.
The policy will also govern the Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council of South Africa, currently known as the Central Drug Authority (CDA). The department underscores that the policy framework rests on three pillars: the Demand Reduction Pillar, focused on preventing substance abuse and reducing conditions conducive to dependence; the Supply Reduction Pillar, entrusted to law enforcement to diminish the supply of legal and illegal drugs; and the Harm Reduction Pillar, including treatment of substance use disorders and activities aimed at minimising harm in communities.
Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, in her foreword on the policy, stressed the importance of reducing the harm caused by substance use and abuse through prevention, early intervention, treatment, aftercare, and reintegration services. The policy framework advocates for evidence-based approaches, replacing less effective services with scientifically supported methods. Zulu expressed confidence that restructuring the monitoring and coordinating structure, formerly known as the Central Drug Authority (CDA), will strengthen collective efforts to combat substance abuse.
The objectives of the Prevention and Treatment for Substance Use Disorder Policy include:
- Addressing sector challenges related to substance abuse.
- Adopting a balanced and evidence-based approach to domestic alcohol and drug use.
- Investing in building safe communities through prevention strategies.
- Facilitating responsive interventions for prevention and treatment.
Additionally, the policy aims to provide a platform for stakeholder involvement and participation and address identified gaps in legislation.
Picture: Facebook / Department of Social Development
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