Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act: Regulations to Be Finalised Soon

Department of Social Development

Regulations being developed under Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act 70 of 2008 are expected to be finalised “during the second quarter of the 2012/13 financial year” in anticipation of the statute’s implementation “during the 3rd quarter” of the same period.

This is according to social development minister Bathabile Dlamini in a written reply to questions posed in the national assembly.

Draft regulations were published on 9 March 2012 in notice 204 of Government Gazette 35125 for comment.

While the act received presidential assent on 19 April 2009, a commencement date has yet to be announced.

The minister said that, noting the “interest and … sensitivity” associated with substance abuse, it was “appropriate” to consult extensively with all stakeholders, including various civil society organisations, to ensure that the issue of substance abuse received the attention it deserved.

Norms and standards had to be “finalised first and incorporated into the regulations”, having been developed separately from them.

She explained that both these activities had delayed the process of finalising the regulations.

Inter alia, the act provides for:

•    a comprehensive, coordinated, collaborative national response for combating substance abuse;
•    mechanisms aimed at demand and harm reduction in relation to substance abuse through prevention, early intervention, treatment and re-integration programmes to deter the onset of and mitigate the impact of substance abuse;
•    the registration and establishment of all programmes and services, including community-based services and those provided in treatment centres and halfway houses;
•    creating conditions and procedures for the admission and release of persons to or from treatment centres, as well as for their treatment, rehabilitation and skills development in such treatment centres; and
•    the establishment of the central drug authority to monitor and oversee the implementation of the national drug master plan.

The act repealed Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act 20 of 1992, in terms of which the central drug authority was originally established.

Sabinet Cape Town Office