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Navigating the Landscape: Institutional Arrangements for Substance Abuse Services in South Africa

Institutional Framework: Substance Abuse Services in South Africa

Uncover the intricate institutional framework driving South Africa's battle against substance abuse. Led by the Department of Social Development, strategic partnerships, advisory structures, and coordinated oversight form a united front. This collaborative approach ensures accountability and responsiveness, promising a more impactful response to the complex challenge of substance abuse across all levels of society.



In the ongoing battle against substance abuse, effective institutional arrangements are fundamental to coordinating efforts, fostering collaboration, and ensuring accountability. This blog explores the intricate network of structures and partnerships within South Africa, spearheaded by the Department of Social Development (DSD) and a myriad of stakeholders at various levels.

1. Lead Department and Partnerships

Lead Department:

The DSD assumes the pivotal role of being the lead department in providing substance abuse-related services. Its overarching responsibility is to guide, regulate, and facilitate a comprehensive approach to tackling substance abuse issues.

Collaborative Ecosystem:

Substance abuse services transcend the boundaries of a single department. Instead, they are delivered through strategic partnerships. These partnerships encompass other government departments, non-government organizations, faith-based organizations, and community-based organizations. The collaborative ecosystem recognizes the need for a unified front against substance abuse, acknowledging the varied expertise and resources different entities bring to the table.

2. Structures for Advisory and Coordination

Expert-Led Council:

ADAC-SA serves as a critical advisory and coordination structure, comprising 9 expert members.

It also embraces the participation of national civil society organizations and other envisioned members according to the proposed structure.

Secretariat at Directorate Level:

Elevating the ADAC-SA Secretariat to the directorate level within the Department of Social Development reflects a commitment to enhance functionality and accountability.

Operational Structure:

The repositioning involves a director, two deputy directors, and two assistant directors within the ADAC-SA Secretariat, each assigned specific responsibilities. Deputy directors and assistant directors collaborate at provincial levels, working in tandem with national departments combatting Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs.

Provincial Presence:

To ensure operational efficiency, each province is recommended to have an ADAC-SA secretariat and administrative support staff, led by a deputy director.

Reporting Mechanism:

The director of the ADAC-SA Secretariat provides regular reports to the Technical Committee for the Social Cluster.

3. Oversight and Reporting Structure

Coordinated Strategy:

The institutional arrangement incorporates the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP), a strategic blueprint coordinated at national, provincial, and local levels.

Operational Coordination:

The ADAC-SA Secretariat, with its directorate and administrative support staff, plays a pivotal role in ensuring operational coordination aligned with the NDMP objectives.

Accountability Channels:

Reporting from the ADAC-SA director to the Technical Committee for the Social Cluster establishes a clear line of accountability.


In conclusion, the proposed institutional structure showcases a concerted effort to enhance the effectiveness, coordination, and accountability of initiatives aimed at addressing substance abuse. This collaborative approach, encompassing governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, reflects a commitment to a united front against the complex challenge of substance abuse in South Africa. As this structure unfolds, it promises to pave the way for a more coordinated, responsive, and impactful response to substance abuse at all levels of society.

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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