Who we are

We are an outpatient centre that provides confidential assistance to individuals and families experiencing problems with drug abuse. The basic difference between an outpatient and an inpatient centre is that with an outpatient programme people remain integrated in their everyday activities. Which means that as an out patient, you're forced to deal with the situation "on your feet". Whilst you may receive support from family, friends and our staff, a large responsibility lies on your shoulders.

Sometimes attending an outpatient programme may not be adequate, depending on the severity of the case. There are state subsidised and private inpatient programmes which cater for such incidences. In the case of a private initiative, access is easier. However, this could cost up to R60 000. Some medical aid institutions do cover this cost. The state subsidised option can cost in the region of R5000 to R12000.

We are the only outpatient centre in South Africa to empirically evaluate our treatment services.


There are various services that individual counsellors offer. The counsellor's role is to do an assessment of the client's needs and concerns to develop a suitable treatment plan.
A lot of clients have been referred here by schools. These people are more often than not angry that they are forced into rehab.

But as we go along with the course, people tend to realise that it is for their own benefit. Kids normally have problems realising the effects that drugs have on their lives. The biggest problems that we face are Dagga, Tik and Heroin. People who approach us are confronted honestly with their problem. It is entirely their choice how they intend to deal with their predicaments - if at all.


What happens here

A person is usually referred to us by parents, employers, schools, doctors and other institutions. In other cases, we are approached by service users who voluntarily want to transform their lives.

What normally happens is you would phone and you'll speak to a counsellor. Alternatively, a family member might phone on your behalf.

Then you might come into the assessment clinic. That's on either a Tuesday or a Thursday but you have to phone and book first. On arriving, you'll sit in the waiting room for a while. There may be waiting involved. You have to be there before eight, however.

You're not allowed to attend the Centre if you have any court cases pending. There are three reasons for this.

One, your motivation for rehab is questionable.

And two, it makes it difficult for the counsellor to work with you knowing that there are legal intricacies involved.

But I would say that the major reason for is that, as a counsellor, you get dragged into court when we should be counselling instead. People use us as references to say good things about them in court. They are welcome to come back after the hearing, though. If someone does have a case pending, we refer them to another service, a private service, that specialises in these cases.

Okay, so you're in the waiting room. At about 8:45 we show you the orientation video. It informs you about the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, addiction and what to expect in rehab. Then we assess you. The objective of the assessment is for the counsellor to get to know the client. We try to address people in their home language when possible. The person who brought the client in, will join us for the first ten minutes. In that time we discuss how each party has been affected.

The counsellor that assesses you will be responsible for your treatment. 

What kind of questions will you ask me?

We will acknowledge any mixed feelings you may be experiencing. We'll look at the drugs that you are using, how much you are taking and how much money you are spending.

"What motivated you come to the centre?"

There are certain key things that counsellors always cover. Things like the drugs and family history.

We also try to determine if a person is suicidal. The Councsellor may ask:

"How, on a normal day, do you feel?
Are you sometimes depressed?
Have you ever thought of killing yourself?"

Normally people let you know if they've been thinking about doing it.

In the first session we'll cover the different aspects of the clients life. Towards the end, we'd look at medical problems to determine if the abuser needs medical help. 
We then ask:

"How do you see yourself in two years from now?" "How do you see your life if you stop taking drugs?" "How do you see your life if you don't stop?"

We also discuss confidentiality and explain that everything that is said will remain confidential within the clinical team. We recommend an end to secrets and manipulation, which keeps adicts sick. Thus we stresss the importance of keeping family members and significant others involved in the treatment process. 

Yes, so that's the assessment. 


Once the assessment is over the client might have second thoughts. The counsellor will even encourage the client to come at a later stage if the person is not in a position to commit or to make a decision immediately. There's no point in pushing someone into something if you know they are not going to give 100%. Rather have them go away now and come back later when they are ready.

Three appointments a week
If someone does want to make a commitment, then we encourage them to commit to a six-week program as a start. They will have roughly three appointments a week, one session with a counsellor, one session with a group and then one lecture. Optional services include Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Art and Drama Therapy. We also have a Medical Doctor and a Psychiatrist.

Okay, when this is over, the therapists will confirm your attendance to the various sessions. Often, the client will agree to something initially, but when it comes to it they get cold feet. So, we try to get people to make an appointment and stick to it.



Once you've made an appointment, you get a green card.

It has all your appointment times on it. It's like a hospital card with the The Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre's telephone number on it. On the back it says that you have to pay a cancellation fee if you book and don't attend. Rather phone and cancel.


Fees are charged on a sliding scale per session, according to income.

If people have financial problems, we find a way to work out something so that you still can attend. But you have to take responsibility for paying for your treatement. You see a drug abuser will spend this money a lot easier on a rock than on rehab. I think it's tough for people but when they look back it's quite rewarding. None of these things really work on their own but the combination of things are really helpful.


General Medial Treatment

Medical / psychiatric consultations for withdrawal medication or evaluation of more serious psychiatric symptoms is offered when needed. 


Acupuncture has been developed by the Chinese over thousands of years.

Chinese medicine is an holistic approach to illness and encompasses physical, emotional and mental aspects of the human condition. It sees them as intrinsically linked. All living things have a vital energy which provides conditions of soft and hard, warm and cold etc. These conditions are linked to our well being and when they are out of balance or disproportionate to each other, we become ill.

There are of course environmental factors, both physical and mental, and our ability to cope with them is important to health. The Chinese developed the use of needles to control and manipulate this vitality and balance it according to principles developed over aeons of empirical observation of man and his environment. The use and abuse of drugs can be influenced in a positive and lasting way by the use of acupuncture. The body and mind are encouraged to return to a healthy and positive state in a natural way. Often people with substance abuse problems have other disabilities as well. This is all treated accordingly to aid the client in returning to a positive and productive life.

Aromatherapy and Reflexology 

Aromatherapy massage using aroma oils to help the client feel relaxed and nurtured through the process.