SANCA’S Out-Patient Programme

Who can benefit from the programme?

Substance abuse has reached epidemic proportions, especially in the Western Cape where the abuse of alcohol, dagga, Methamphetamine (Tik) and Heroin by teenagers and young adults is drastically on the increase. Substance abuse and dependency has a progressive cycle that can be fatal if untreated. For this reason it is very important to identify and refer anyone with a suspected dependency problem for assessment and treatment. Research indicates that the majority of people in the early stages of substance abuse can be treated successfully in an out-patient treatment programme. At SANCA Western Cape we firmly believe that most individuals struggling with addiction have the capacity for recovery, if given the proper foundation and critical support to begin their life-changing journey.

How to access the service

SANCA will assess anyone showing the signs and symptoms of a substance abuse dependency problem. Clients are usually referred by friends and family members, employers, schools, doctors or hospitals as well as by other welfare organisations. Assessment services are offered from SANCA Western Cape’s six branch offices located in Athlone/Guguletu, Khayelitsha, Paarl, Atlantis, Mitchells Plain and Tygerberg where the out-patient, community-based counselling programme is offered.

We offer a comprehensive assessment

The client is required to call the nearest SANCA branch office and make an appointment. Upon arrival, the client will be requested to complete a brief intake form following which a social worker will conduct a comprehensive assessment interview. Depending on the nature and severity of the problem, the assessment may be conducted over one or two interviews. Aspects that will be covered during the assessment include:

• Family history,
• Substance abuse history and identification of the phase of addiction,
• The client’s level of motivation,
• Brief medical screening to determine the need to be referred for detoxification,
• Possible psychiatric disorders,
• Strengths and weaknesses of the client,
• Individual treatment plan and referral to SANCA’s out-patient programme,
• Alternatively, referral to an in-patient treatment centre, should this be necessary, and
• Referral of the family to a family support programme.

If a client is not ready to make a commitment to treatment, individual motivation interviews are continued.

SANCA values and respects every client’s rights and ensures a safe and confidential environment at all times. We are committed to offering a secure therapeutic service to those struggling with addition so that they begin the road to recovery.


What are the objectives of the Out-Patient Programme?

Although there is no medical, social or psychological cure and certainly no quick fix for substance dependency, people can be helped to manage and maintain a substance abuse free life style.

Our comprehensive Out-patient Programme has been specially designed to render an early intervention as well as a more intensive treatment programme for males and females of all ages, regardless of the substances they are abusing. All clients who have been assessed and who stand to benefit from our structured community-based out-patient programme will be accepted for treatment.

The specific objectives of the programme, which is based on a combination of best practice substance abuse intervention models, are to:

• Assist the client to gain insight into and an understanding of his/her substance abuse problem,
• Equip the client to develop a positive self-image and build on his/her strengths
• Develop appropriate life skills to maintain a substance abuse free lifestyle,
• Take the necessary steps to reduce the risks of relapse,
• Build the required networking and support systems,
• Facilitate the individual’s re-integration and successful return to the community
• Engage family members, ensuring that they too have a good understanding of the substance abuse problem and are equipped to provide much needed support to the client, and
• Provide an after-care service or encourage attendance of a support group.

What services form part of the programme?

Following a comprehensive assessment, an individualised treatment plan is developed for each client, which may comprise any combination of the following multi-level interventions:

➢ Motivational interviewing

The motivational interview is a type of interview that centres on the client and seeks to help in exploring and resolving his/her reluctance to make a commitment to receiving treatment. Family members are also able to attend these sessions so that they can be equipped to motivate the client to commence treatment.

➢ Early Intervention programme (EI)

Structured brief intervention groups are offered to clients, especially children and youth. These youth groups involve an average of  six to eight structured group sessions that focus on early intervention and life skills development. Individual sessions are offered as and when necessary.

➢ Comprehensive Community Base programme (CBT)

This is a structured, comprehensive programme that consists of three phases:

a) Assessment phase by a multi-disciplinary team, medical screening and contract with an individual treatment plan;
b) Early recovery phase consists of 8 sessions and cover drug information as well as relapse prevention topics;
c) The third phase focuses on topics related to aftercare and reintegration goals topics. (Consist of 7 sessions)

List of topics are covered may include the following:

Alcohol and substance abuse information/education
• Relapse prevention
• Dealing with cravings
• Life skills
• Goal setting
• Personal development
• Health and nutrition
• Values
• Links between substance abuse and HIV, crime and other problems
• Termination and after-care

➢ Family education groups

Experience has taught us that when families support the treatment process, their loved ones are more likely to recover. SANCA offers family education groups on Saturday mornings at certain offices. Any family member is welcome to join this six session programme, which focuses on supporting and empowering family members to deal with the problem of substance abuse in a constructive manner.

➢ After-care and support services

Services include therapeutic individual and groups counselling sessions. The emphasis is on managing challenges, dealing constructively with any issues related to the recovery process and facilitating the client’s successful reintegration into the community. Clients are also introduced to a variety of recreational activities, and are encouraged to participate in arts and crafts activities and to join appropriate social support groups within their communities.

➢ Voluntary HIV counselling and Testing

SANCA actively encourages clients to attend voluntary HIV pre-test counselling and to take a rapid HIV test in order to know their HIV status. Post-test counselling is also provided. Experienced, trained staff and a registered nursing sister offer this voluntary counselling and testing service. Our counselling and nursing staff are very professional and maintain excellent standards in confidentiality, counselling and testing. Confidentiality is guaranteed and clients are referred for follow-up support and treatment, should this be required.

How is the programme monitored?

Monitoring and evaluating client progress is important to determine the success of the programme. Drug tests are therefore conducted regularly. Negative results (indicating no trace of drugs) serve as an enormous source of encouragement for clients, their families and therapists alike. Clients who successfully complete the programme attend a special award ceremony at which they receive a certificate and a gift from one of SANCA’s sponsors in acknowledgement of their fine achievements.

All programmes comply with the current draft minimum standards for out-patient treatment and are evaluated on a regular basis by SANCA’s management team or an external team of evaluators.

Who are the therapeutic team?

The problem of substance abuse and dependence is a complex problem that is difficult to treat and for this reason it takes a team of professionals to address the problem effectively. Outpatient programmes are rendered by a skilled team of 20 social workers and four managers who have received specialised training in the field of substance abuse.

We render a comprehensive one-stop multi-disciplinary service at the Athlone office in partnership with the Departments of Social Development and Health, which subsidise the intervention. This specialist multi-disciplinary team comprises:

• Social workers,
• A clinical psychologist,
• A registered psychiatric sister, and
• A psychiatrist who works on a sessional basis and serves as the team leader.

This service is currently in its piloting phase. The idea is to fine-tune and test the programme before rolling it out to other regions within the Western Province.

What are the costs of the service?

Although SANCA receives a subsidy from the Department of Social Development as well as grants and donations from a range of funders, income from these sources are insufficient to enable the organisation to offer an entirely free service. Clients are charged according to a set fee structure. The average cost per session, which covers assessment, group or individual sessions, drug testing as well as VCT sessions.

SANCA Western Cape is committing to offering professional, affordable services of high quality. Clients who are not in the financial position to cover the full costs of the programme are welcome to negotiate a special fee with the social worker at the intake interview. No client will be denied services if they cannot afford to pay a fee.