Although clients were asked to indicate only their primary substance of abuse, this does not mean that they do not use more than one substance. The trend is that most clients tend to abuse more than one substance.
A very significant change in the primary substance of abuse is that alcohol has decreased from 49% in 2006/7 to 31% in this reporting period. Thirty-one percent of clients in treatment indicated that alcohol and dagga were their primary substances of abuse in 2012/13, which means that Dagga usage has increased by 4% during the last year. The highest number of clients at 46% (1 538 clients) with an alcohol dependency occurred in the 36 to 59 year age group, whilst 44% of the Dagga users were between 14 and 17 years old. Apart from tobacco, Heroin/Opiates is the third most frequently abused substance with 980 users (9%) followed by in the 22 to 35 year age group. Methamphetamine (TIK) at 5% was the drug of choice for 593 users. The percentage of Crack/Cocaine and CAT users (at 3% each) remained the same as in the 2011/12 year. There is, however, an emerging trend that growing numbers of clients (other than those of are alcohol dependent) who are now in the majority use more than one substance. This has a severe impact on their recovery with in-patient treatment being the recommended treatment modality.
There are interesting differences in the preferred substances of abuse at the various SANCA organisations. For example, alcohol is the primary substance at the majority of organisations, with the exception of Horizon, Port Elizabeth, Soweto and SANCA Western Cape, where reported Dagga use is higher. It is alarming to note that 38% of the clients at Witbank reported with Heroin/Opiate addiction problems. Methamphetamine is the third highest substance of abuse at SANCA Port Elizabeth and Western Cape with 21% and 32% of clients respectively indicating that this was their substance abuse of choice. CAT use is the third highest substance of abuse at Horizon and Far North, whilst inhalants still remain the third choice of abuse in the Northern Cape.