More effort needed to fight drug abuse
THE WESTERN Cape government has expressed concern about an increase in the number of young people being admitted for psychiatric care, who also have serious substance abuse disorders.
As the world commemorates International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking today, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said people should remember that harmful drug and alcohol use could ruin their lives.
“In addition to a continuously climbing rate of drugrelated crime, we are seeing a big increase in the number of young people coming into our psychiatric facilities with substance abuse disorders combined with serious psychological problems.
“We are now at the point where between 50 percent and 60 percent of adolescents that come to (the) government facilities for psychiatric care in this province also come with a substance abuse disorder.”
Zille said there was a slight decrease in the number of young people entering drug rehabilitation, because more and more were needing psychiatric care.
“This comes at a huge cost to society, the state, and their own opportunities in life.”
The senior scientist at the Medical Research Council’s alcohol and drug abuse research unit, Andreas Plüdde- mann, highlighted an urgent need for a specialised law enforcement task force to tackle illicit drug trafficking.
“In the Western Cape tik is still the biggest problem; still the most common substance reported by people admitted for drug counselling or rehabilitation, accounting for 36 percent.”
Plüddemann said there had been a lot of effort in the province aimed at treatment services, but there was still a need for improvement on the law enforcement side.
Rehabilitation remained a major challenge, he said. In the urban areas there were now a number of affordable outpatient counselling centres, but very little in rural areas.
Today the internationally recognised Matrix Institute on Addictions will hand over a certificate to the Tafelsig Clinic, to officially declare the clinic’s Matrix project as a “programme of excellence” in Delft.
Grant Pascoe, mayoral committee member for social development, said the clinic was the first in Africa to have its Matrix programme inter nationally certified. The clinic is one of the three in the city to offer the Matrix model for drug and alcohol treatment.
Meanwhile, ANC provincial legislature member Mcebisi Skwatsha has organised an Anti-Drug/Tik Youth Seminar in Hanover Park today, as part of youth month events.