The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

€1 million investment for prevention and treatment of addictions

Saturday, 23 October 2021, 09:51 Last update: about 2 months ago

More services will be provided by Aġenzija Sedqa to strengthen the prevention and treatment of addictions, the government said. This agreement will be made with a total investment of €1 million.

This was made possible through an agreement between the Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation and the Foundation responsible for Social Welfare Services (FSWS), within the Ministry for Solidarity and Development, Social Justice, the Family and the Rights of the Child.

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This agreement further demonstrates the importance that the government is giving to the prevention of addictions and harm reduction measures with those who already use a substance or exhibit addictive behavior. The agreement will work on four key areas, including the consolidation and strengthening of current prevention programmes, the implementation of new initiatives in post-secondary schools, the visibility of the services provided and the human rights dimension to working with people with addiction difficulties.

The agreement also aims to expand prevention awareness campaigns through a website and an online chat facility. These FSWS-run online facilities will be providing accessible, user-friendly and convenient help to those particular audiences for whom these prevention initiatives are intended.

Aġenzija Sedqa, on behalf of the FSWS, and the Human Rights Directorate have already collaborated in recent years in this regard. This agreement therefore, aims to further expand Sedqa’s interventions on substance abuse and addiction in a way that reaches more students in primary, secondary and post-secondary schools, as well as adults in places of residence, work and through community interventions.

Minister for Solidarity and Social Justice, the Family and Children’s Rights Michael Falzon said that this programme aims to create more awareness from an early age at primary, secondary and even tertiary level. Professionals within the FSWS will be taking care of the training in order to pass on more knowledge and structure to the educators. FSWS will therefore be entrusted with running the T.F.A.L, S.A.F.E and Think Outside the Box programs.

“From an initial budget of € 20,000, we will now invest over one million euros, in order to strengthen the level of these programs offered. This is another demonstration of how much the Government must continue to invest seriously in order to get as far as possible away from the problem of addictions. Further we show that addiction itself is the problem and not the solution. Without judging, we must show that we are there for everyone,” said Minister Michael Falzon.

Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation Owen Bonnici said that our aim is first and foremost to educate and prevent the use or abuse of substances, but also to provide training for workers in residential services so they can be better prepared to help their clients with dignity and respect even when they are experiencing dependency difficulties.

“Through the Sedqa Care and Prevention Services,” continued Minister Bonnici, “we also intend to go to workplaces and entities working with people with addictions, to inform employees about addictions and how to deal with people who experience these difficulties.”

He said the agreement follows the launch of the Young Achievers scheme this week, which aims to involve organizations and communities in delivering prevention messages in places frequented by young people.

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