oa South African Health Review - Alcohol and other drug use : chapter 23

Volume 2000, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-1715



High levels of abuse of alcohol and other drugs (AODs) by certain groups in South Africa are documented as well as an indication of the resulting health and social burden incurred. A critique of the most prominent policy initiatives promoted by various government departments at a national level to address AOD abuse indicates that there have been activities on several fronts. Activities undertaken by the Department of Health specifically have included strategic planning exercises, departmental restructuring, support for research in key areas, the establishment of a committee to look into advertising, and support for certain prevention initiatives. Gains have, however, been less than hoped for at national and particularly at provincial levels. Various recommendations are presented for taking things forward. In the short term priority should be given to addressing AOD treatment and rehabilitation, instituting work place interventions, forbidding or restricting alcohol advertising, and implementing specific harm reduction strategies. In the medium term attention should be given to increasing community support for substance abusers, and education of persons at risk as well as the general public. Other recommendations include the need for the Department of Health to work with other departments, for example, in increasing excise taxes on alcohol, in establishing a national substance abuse clearing house, and in lobbying the Department of Finance to provide the funds needed to implement the National Drug Master Plan.

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