Drug rehabilitation centres in SA, which were forced to close during the lockdown, have now been authorised to accept new patients on referral by a social worker.
The regulation change by social development minister Lindiwe Zulu, gazetted on Tuesday, followed a threat of legal action by at least one centre, The Cedars, a private facility in Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal, which argued that the ban on new patients, other than through a court order, was a direct contradiction of disaster regulations allowing people to access medical attention.
In a letter to Zulu, Cedars attorney Bianca Larratt said Cedars admits and treats between 350 and 400 patients a year.
“At the time of the lockdown, five patients were admitted. Since the lockdown, it has received about three inquiries per day from people suffering from drug and alcohol dependence, some of them chronic cases,” she said.