Like many other countries in the world, South Africa has been experiencing unprecedented levels of substance abuse among its citizens. The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (No. 20 of 1992) (the Act) has provided a legal framework for the establishment, management and monitoring of inpatient treatment centres to rehabilitate the numerous victims of substance abuse in the country.

The Department of Social Development, which is responsible for administering the Act, through the support of the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime developed this manual Minimum norms and standards for inpatient treatment centres to assist these centres to standardize services, facilitate transformation and improve service quality.

The minimum standards will provide the policy, guidelines, minimum requirements and quality assurance for service providers to ensure that the rights of chemical dependents (and their families) are protected and that especially young people at risk (and their families) receive the best possible service.

The manual sets out the principles underlying the establishment of treatment centres (e.g. accountability, empowerment, continuum of care, restorative justice and family preservation) and also contains a useful glossary of terms and a list of the abbreviations used.

This manual is divided into eight sections: Rights and responsibilities (dealing with, for example, constitutional rights and health rights), Levels of service delivery, Prevention, Early intervention, Statutory process, Continuum of care (covering individualized treatment planning; pharmacotherapy and medical care; structured treatment programmes; release, readmission and aftercare), Treatment centre management (covering staff training and support; environment and amenities; family support and involvement; documentation, monitoring and evaluation; target groups), and Procedure for treatment centre management (covering appropriate placement, faith-based practices, visits and contact, abuse, rules, complaints and investigations, involuntary admissions, privacy and confidentiality, financial management and planning, staff complements, etc.).

Purpose of Manual

To establish a set of minimum standards for the control, guidance and monitoring of inpatient treatment facilities in South Africa.

  • The minimum standards will ensure that transformation is implemented in a specific, planned and effective manner.
  • The minimum standards will ensure that transformation is monitored effectively and in a manner that promotes and guides change and development.
  • The minimum standards will provide guidelines for the review of the funding policy and procedure related to inpatient treatment facilities.
  • The minimum standards will provide the policy, guidelines, minimum requirements, and quality assurance for service providers to ensure that the rights of chemical dependents (and their families) are protected and that young people at risk (and their families) receive a quality service.

Acknowledgements

The National Department of Social Development would like to thank the following people/bodies for contributing to the publication of this manual.

The working task team, consisting of representatives from Mpumalanga Province, Limpopo Province and the National Social Development Office, who worked tirelessly for almost six months to ensure the document, was produced in time for presentation to the Cabinet for approval.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for providing funding and other related support towards the production of the document

Representative participants from the Department of Health, the Swartfontein Treatment Centre and the SANCA National Office, who put more than their fair share of time into the discussions in order to refine the content and context of the manual.

Facilitating consultants: Bridges (Living in the Solution & not Dwelling in the Problem) of Somerset West in the Cape, who conducted the whole consultative process and produced the initial working document, and Qondisa Development Facilitators of Johannesburg, who assisted with the restructuring of the document.

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