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City to spend R30-million in the war against drugs Print E-mail
01 June 2017

The City of Johannesburg is to spend more than R30-million to pilot an anti-substance abuse programme at five primary healthcare facilities as it steps up its fight against the drugs scourge afflicting many communities in the city. 

This was announced by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Dr Mpho Phalatse during a tour of four clinics in Region E – Sandown Clinic, Alexandra 8th Avenue Clinic, East Bank Clinic and River Park Clinic – on Wednesday May 31.

MMC Phalatse said the citywide initiative would focus on discouraging drug use, particularly among the youth – the most vulnerable of all the groups – and offer assistance to those already struggling with addiction.

The MMC said substance abuse in Johannesburg had become a serious problem, adding that not enough had been done in the past to address the scourge, which she described as “a social ill and a cancer that is fast eating away at our social fabric” and destroying families and communities.

Dr Phalatse visited the Region E clinics to identify and address challenges faced by staff and patients.

During the day-long tour, she said the City was looking at coming up with an integrated approach to address substance abuse. She said the strategy would involve City departments such as Health and Social Development, Economic Development, Community Development, Public Safety and Development Planning.

“There are three ways of dealing with substance abuse. You need to reduce the demand, address the supply – that is where law enforcement comes in – and assist those who are already using drugs," said Phalatse.

She noted that there was only one City-owned drug rehabilitation facility in Johannesburg.

Cllr Phalatse said as it cost a lot of money to set up a drug rehabilitation centre, the City had decided to use some of its existing primary healthcare facilities to fight the scourge.

“We have clinics that are under-utilised. For instance, River Park is a new clinic and is spacious. We are now looking at how we can utilise that space to provide anti-substance abuse services,” the MMC said.

River Park Clinic, in Alexandra, has been identified as a possible pilot site. However, it still has to be assessed and accredited by the Gauteng Department of Social Development. Other possible pilot sites that have been identified are Eldorado Park in Region G, Westbury in Region B, Tladi Clinic in Soweto (Region D) and Albert Street Clinic in the Johannesburg inner city (Region F).

The clinics are in areas where there is a high demand for anti-substance abuse services. They also have space to provide these services. Some of the issues facing Region E clinics identified during the tour included limited space and staff shortages.

The MMC said she found the tour "fruitful and encouraging".


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Last Updated on 01 June 2017