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Nurturing Change: Unveiling the Purpose of South Africa's Substance Use Disorder Policy

Updated: Jan 27

South Africa's Substance Use Policy: Nurturing Transformation

Delve into the core purpose of South Africa's Substance Use Disorder Policy, designed to nurture transformative change. From amending legislation and adopting a balanced approach to building safe communities, controlling demand and supply, and addressing new psychoactive substances, explore the comprehensive objectives. The policy emphasizes coordinated services, defined roles, and adherence to guiding principles, reflecting a commitment to a holistic and effective approach. As South Africa embarks on this transformative journey, these objectives signify a collective commitment to nurturing change and fostering a future marked by resilience and recovery.



In the ongoing battle against substance use disorders, South Africa is poised to enact a transformative change through the Policy on Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Use Disorder. This article delves into the core purpose of the policy, exploring its aims to amend legislation, adopt a balanced and integrated approach, build safe communities, control demand and supply, ensure effective therapeutic substance use, address new psychoactive substances, coordinate services, define roles and responsibilities, and uphold guiding principles.

Amendment of Legislation

At the heart of the policy's purpose is the commitment to amend the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, 2008 (Act No 70 of 2008). This legislative endeavour underscores a proactive approach to navigating the legal landscape surrounding substance use disorders, ensuring that the legal framework evolves to meet the dynamic challenges posed by the issue.

Balanced and Integrated Approach

A fundamental objective of the policy is to embrace a balanced, integrated, and evidence-based approach to domestic substance use and abuse. This holistic approach signifies a departure from singular strategies, weaving a comprehensive tapestry that addresses the multifaceted nature of substance use disorders.

Building Safe Communities

The policy underscores a commitment to investing in building safe communities through appropriate substance abuse prevention and impact minimization strategies. This community-centric vision recognizes that prevention is a cornerstone in the fight against substance abuse, and community building is integral to fostering an environment that deters the prevalence of substance use disorders.

Control of Demand and Supply

An ambitious objective of the policy is to control both the demand and supply of substances, striking at the core of substance abuse. By addressing both aspects, the policy aims to reduce the prevalence of substance abuse, recognizing that a dual-fronted strategy is essential to creating a meaningful impact.

Effective Control of Therapeutic Use

Focusing on effectively controlling substances for therapeutic use, the policy aims to ensure that these substances are used appropriately and safely. This objective reflects a commitment to safeguarding medicinal applications of substances, acknowledging their legitimate role in healthcare while mitigating the risk of abuse.

Addressing New Psychoactive Substances

The policy looks ahead by aiming to address the emergence of new psychoactive substances. By implementing effective control measures, it anticipates and responds to the challenges posed by evolving substances, staying ahead of the curve in the ever-changing landscape of substance use disorders.

Coordinated and Regulated Services

The policy ensures that drug demand reduction services within the social development sector are rendered in a coordinated, regulated, and effective manner. This objective emphasizes the need for synergy and collaboration among various stakeholders to optimize the impact of substance abuse prevention and treatment services.

Defined Roles and Responsibilities

To ensure clear and effective implementation, the policy aims to define roles and responsibilities within the sector. This objective establishes a framework that outlines the specific contributions and responsibilities of each entity involved, fostering clarity in action and accountability.

Guided by Principles

The policy emphasizes that all drug demand reduction interventions should be guided by the principles outlined in the policy. This moral compass serves as a guide for interventions, ensuring that they align with the ethical and moral imperatives outlined in the pursuit of combating substance use disorders.


In conclusion, the Policy on Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Use Disorder is designed to be comprehensive, addressing legislative amendments, community building, supply and demand control, therapeutic substance use, and the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances. The emphasis on coordination, regulation, and adherence to guiding principles reflects a commitment to a holistic and effective approach to combating substance use disorder in South Africa. As the nation embarks on this transformative journey, these objectives signify a collective commitment to nurturing change and fostering a future marked by resilience and recovery.

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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