Illegal rehab centres a problem - govt

2013-04-10 22:18
Gauteng provincial government (Picture: Sapa)

Gauteng provincial government (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Unregistered rehabilitation centres are undermining the fight against drug abuse, the Gauteng social development department said on Wednesday.

The authorities needed to step up the fight against such illegal activities, the department said in a statement.

Over four or five months more than 20 illegally-operating centres had been found in Gauteng.

MEC Nandi Myathula-Khoza said the centres were a threat rather than a saviour for drug addicts, because their medical facilities were not reliable.

"Some of these rehabs are without any qualified doctors, psychological consultation, exercise facilities, proper kitchens, physiotherapy ward, and some facilities do not comply with municipal bylaws."

The department had found abysmal conditions in some centres.

"[We] have identified some of these facilities and the substance abusers were found to be living in abysmal conditions. Some [patients] were confined to small rooms and used for hard labour."

Communities were warned about sending people to unregistered centres last year. The department linked the increasing number of centres to the growing number of nyaope users.

Nyaope is a cocktail of, among other things, rat poison, dagga, heroin and antiretroviral medication.

It is mainly used by teenagers, and appeared around 2007 on the streets of the Tshwane townships of Soshanguve, Atteridgeville and Mamelodi.

The department said some people saw running a rehab centre as a way to make money.

In the last financial year, R10m, or 3%t of the department's annual budget, was spent on accredited and licensed NGO facilities in Gauteng.

Centres had been told to register, but only nine had done so, the department said.

Read more on:    local government  |  narcotics

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