n South African Medical Journal - Moving beyond access : towards a quality-orientated substance abuse treatment system in South Africa : editorial

Volume 102, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



There is growing concern about the increased demand for and limited access to substance abuse treatment in South Africa. The government has responded by allocating more money to the delivery of substance abuse treatment, expanding the number of state-funded treatment slots, and training additional health and social workers to deliver these services, particularly in provinces where the prevalence of substance-related problems is high, such as the Western Cape. While these efforts should be commended and continued, steps to improve service availability have occurred without adequate consideration of the quality of services provided. This is not surprising, as there is little or no routine monitoring and evaluation of substance abuse services in the country. It is also disquieting, as access to treatment is necessary but not sufficient for positive treatment outcomes.

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