The Malta Independent 11 December 2019, Wednesday

Number of people seeking help for addictions increasing, but only 0.6% are drug users – Sedqa

Giulia Magri Tuesday, 25 June 2019, 14:14 Last update: about 7 months ago

Whilst the number of people seeking help against addictions has increased over the past few years, only 0.6% of the Maltese are drug users. This shows that our battle against drug addiction is successful, the CEO of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, Alfred Grixti, said on Tuesday.

“Whilst this statement might seem to be a contradiction, for us this is a good sign that people are seeking help and we are making progress in reducing drug use. This does not mean that our work is finished, especially with the increase of synthetic drugs on the market, we will continue working.”

Grixti was speaking at a conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of AgenzijaSedqa, an agency that works in the field of preventing and rehabilitating persons who are suffering from drug, alcohol and other forms of addiction.

Grixti said that, apart from there being people seeking help against drug use, there has also been an increase in people seeking professional help for their alcohol addiction. He said that Malta has a culture of high tolerance towards alcohol, but people must understand that excessive alcohol consumption can be just as dangerous as drug abuse.


Society looks at addictions differently when compared to 25 years ago

The Chairperson of the Foundation for Social Welfare Service, Joe Gerada, said that substance addictions have changed over time, and that the fight against addiction is a challenging one but continuously necessary for the benefit of society.

“The agency must be ready to always provide the necessary services for these people seeking help to fight against their addictions.” He said that just like the Scouts, the agency must always be prepared and ready for any form of circumstances, and to strengthen the platform, attitude and services of the agency.

“We have helped each and every client and walked with them through their rehabilitation and integration back into society after their drug/alcohol addiction.”

‘We highlight the importance of teaching our children life skills, understanding bullying and self-esteem. In this way, as they grow older they will be less likely to seek out substance addictions”, said Charles Scerri, Operations Director of AgenzijaSedqa.

He continued that the lack of education on life skills and self-esteem will affect the child’s development and could later on lead them to a form of addiction. He added that the agency has also given out leaflets to employers on how to deal with difficult situations amongst employees.

He said that the rehabilitation programme has been adapted and there is a bigger emphasis on the final part of the programme, which is a crucial part, as it is the final step before integrating back into society.


Photos: Eva Krins

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