Cape Town - Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez has told the legislature the department has seen an increase in coloured and black patients aged 20 and under seeking treatment for cannabis use.
Responding in writing to a query from provincial ANC social development spokesperson Gladys Bakubaku-Vos, Fernandez said the department had noted a slight increase in alcohol use among coloured patients and a decline in methamphetamine use.
Bakubaku-Vos had asked about the prevalence of drugs and substance abuse among young people in the province and the number of drug rehabilitation centres that are privately owned and those funded by the department.
Using data from the latest South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (Sacendu) report, Fernandez said that 60% of patients aged under 20 were treated for cannabis use.
The data was collected from 34 treatment centres for patients younger than 20 who access treatment within Western Cape.
The report said although men dominated the list of patients for all substances, there had been an increase in women patients admitted for alcohol use.
Fernandez said: “There was also a significant increase from 23%-60% that were admitted for treatment and 21% of patients 20 years and younger were treated for methamphetamine (tik) use.”
She said 48% of patients in the age group were referred to treatment centres, either of their own accord or by family and friends. Referrals by schools stood at 32% and referrals by social service/welfare at 11%.
Fernandez said there were 22 privately owned treatment centres and six departmental funded in-patient treatment centres in the province
The six are the Toevlug Centre for Substance Use Disorders; The Salvation Army Hesketh King; the Ramot Treatment Centre; Keep the Dream (Namaqua Treatment Centre); the Saartjie Baartman Centre; and the Tehillah Community Collaborative.