Jericho attended the consultative National Workshop on the Draft Substance Abuse Policy and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Amendment Bill, 2017 last week at the Kopano Nokeng Country Lodge, in Bloemfontein. The Department of Social Development is currently in the process of consulting with each province in order to draft the Policy and Bill which are ultimately aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Act. South Africa is a member of the United Nations Drug Control Programme so we are part of the global fight against substance abuse. The majority of the international treaties South Africa’s signed have been on supply reduction. We now need to place emphasis on demand and harm reduction. The Drug and Trafficking Act # 140 of 1992 deals with arresting and imprisonment i.e. supply reduction. This legislation we were looking at deals with decreasing demand and harm. In the past years South Africa was more reactive and it now wants to become more proactive. Illegal drug use has exploded in South Africa as drugs have become more affordable. Alcohol and drug use are becoming the norm and the number of addicts needing help and not being able to afford it is growing rapidly. This legislation aims to address this major problem as effectively as possible. Substance abuse was often looked at in isolation from other social challenges but it is now being looked at in conjunction with them and comprehensive intersectoral strategies aimed at reducing demand and harm caused by substance abuse are being developed. This should help a great deal. This is evidenced on the Dihlabeng Local Drug Action Committee which has representatives from the Department of Education, Health, Labour, Justice and Constitutional Development, Arts and Culture, Sports and Recreation, Correctional Services and Safety and Security and also from the Gambling and Liquor Board and Jericho. If you are interested in reading the current Prevention and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act it can be found at:
Pierre Viviers (National Department of Social Development); Luyanda Mtshotshisa (National Department of Social Development); Maria Venter (Senior Social Worker, Jericho Recovery Centre) and Belinda Carreira (Expansion & Development, Jericho Recovery Centre). — at Kopano Nokeng Country Lodge & Conference Centre.