Social Work Services by Non-Profit Organisations for Adults with Substance Use Disorders


  • Shernaaz Carelse University of the Western Cape
  • Sulina Green



non-profit organisations, social work services, levels of intervention, substance use disorders


Social work services globally started as a result of society’s response to basic human needs, and thus facilitated alleviating, based on doing good, the plight of those in need. Since its inception as a professional discipline, social work has always been associated with poverty relief and services to persons with substance use disorders (SUDs). The high prevalence of SUDs in South Africa makes it one of the top 10 substance abusing countries globally. As such, the demand for social work services, aimed at substance abuse intervention, has increased rapidly over the past 20 years, resulting in the emergence of many non-profit organisations (NPOs). However, there are gaps in evidence-based research on social work services provided by NPOs to persons with SUDs. The focus of the article is on the nature and scope of social work services provided by NPOs to adults with SUDs. The population for the study was supplied by NPOs across the Cape Metropole, offering services to persons with SUDs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 social workers, purposively selected from 10 NPOs across the Cape Metropole. Thematic data analysis was done and yielded three main themes, namely theoretical approaches, levels of intervention, and methods in social work practice when delivering services to adults with SUDs.


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Author Biography

Shernaaz Carelse, University of the Western Cape


Social Work Department 




How to Cite

Carelse, Shernaaz, and Sulina Green. 2019. “Social Work Services by Non-Profit Organisations for Adults With Substance Use Disorders”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 31 (3):18 pages.



Received 2018-09-12
Accepted 2019-08-13
Published 2019-12-19