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Navigating Substance Abuse: The Comprehensive Framework and Collaborative Structures

Substance Abuse Governance: South Africa's Collaborative Framework

Dive into the collaborative tapestry of South Africa's substance abuse governance. From the political leadership of the Inter-Ministerial Committee to targeted interventions by the Special Group, and localized efforts at provincial and local levels, the framework weaves together committees and forums. Discover how this holistic approach, involving expert advice, aligned government priorities, and localized action, reflects a united commitment to combat substance abuse. As South Africa navigates complexities, this governance structure signifies a dedication to creating substance-free communities through coordinated and informed interventions at every level.



Addressing the complex challenges of substance abuse requires a multifaceted approach and a collaborative framework that engages various stakeholders at different levels of governance. This blog explores the intricate web of interrelated committees and forums established within South Africa's substance abuse policy, shedding light on the comprehensive structure designed to combat the pervasive issues associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

Structures for Advisory and Coordination

1. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC)

Role of the IMC:

At the apex of the substance abuse governance structure is the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), chaired by the Minister of Social Development. The IMC serves as the pivotal political leadership, offering strategic direction on both demand and supply reduction while coordinating national efforts to combat substance abuse.

Membership and Composition:

The President determines the IMC's membership, with Department Cluster Chairpersons serving as advisors. Technical expertise is provided by the Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council of South Africa (ADAC-SA), including its executive chairperson and deputy chairperson.

2. Cluster Departments

Crucial Role of Clusters:

Government clusters, specifically Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS), Social Protection, Community and Human Development (SPCHD), and Economic Sectors, Employment, and Infrastructure Development (ESEID), play a crucial role in aligning government-wide priorities related to substance abuse.

Objectives of the Clusters:

Clusters aim to align government priorities, facilitate program implementation, and act as consultative platforms for cross-cutting drug abuse matters, presenting these issues to the Cabinet.

3. Technical Committee

Technical Advice Mechanism:

The Technical Committee operates to provide technical advice to clusters on drug abuse-related matters. It convenes monthly to coordinate interventions and reports its findings to the respective clusters.

4. Special Group

Focusing on Specific Sectors:

The Special Group within the governance framework focuses on addressing substance abuse issues among youth, artists, and athletes. It serves as a platform for targeted interventions in these specific sectors, recognizing the unique challenges they pose.

5. Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council of South Africa (ADAC-SA)

ADAC-SA's Mandate:

The Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council of South Africa (ADAC-SA) plays a crucial role in advising the IMC on substance abuse issues, setting research agendas, and providing expertise on matters related to alcohol and drug abuse.

Composition and Expertise:

Comprising experts, cluster chairpersons, GBV coordinating structures, research institutions, HIGHER HEALTH, and SAHPRA, ADAC-SA meets quarterly to ensure a comprehensive and informed approach.

6. Provincial and Local Action

Provincial Drug Action Forums:

At the provincial level, the Provincial Substance Abuse Forum (PSAF) develops its Master Plan, provides quarterly reports to ADAC-SA, and receives resources from the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD).

District and Local Action Committees:

Operating at the district/regional and municipal levels, the district forums and local drug action committees (LDACs) play pivotal roles in coordinating efforts, developing action plans, and providing crucial reports on substance abuse issues.


In conclusion, South Africa's comprehensive framework for combating substance abuse is a collaborative tapestry, intricately weaving together various committees and forums. From the political leadership of the IMC to the targeted interventions of the Special Group, and the localized efforts of Provincial and Local Action Committees, this framework reflects a holistic and united approach. As the nation navigates the complexities of substance abuse, this governance structure stands as a testament to the commitment to creating substance-free communities through coordinated and informed interventions at every level.

Continue Reading

The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse

Substance Use Trends and Strategic Interventions

Comprehensive Policy for Substance Use Disorders

Approach to Substance Use Prevention and Treatment

Approach to Substance Reduction Strategies

Overview of Substance Abuse Governance





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