Lessons from the evaluation of a public out-patient substance abuse treatment programme in the Western Cape
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Substance abuse is widely regarded as a major health and social problem in South Africa, and particularly in the Western Cape (Corrigall, Ward, Stinson, Struthers, Frantz, Lund, Flisher & Joska, 2007; Myers, Fakier & Louw, 2009). The complex nature of patterns of substance abuse, as well as the particular problems associated with this abuse, has implications for the development and implementation of treatment interventions. The most common primary drug of abuse in the Western Cape amongst patients admitted to treatment programmes is methamphetamine (known locally as “tik”) (Dada, Plüddemann, Parry, Vawda & Fourie, 2012). The previous decade saw a dramatic rise in methamphetamine (hereafter indicated as MA) use, particularly among youths, with over half the patients in treatment for MA abuse being younger than 25 years (Plüddemann, Parry, Dada, Bhana, Bachoo & Fourie, 2010). MA is also often used in combination with other drugs, and this prevalence of poly-substance abuse needs to be taken into account in the planning of services (Harker, Kader, Myers, Falkier, Parry, Flisher, Peltzer, Ramlagan & Davids, 2008).