“Broad consensus that Cannabis is not a recreational drug” – Caritas Director

Caritas graduation

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Caritas Director Leonid McKay expressed his satisfaction that the country seems to have a broad consensus that cannabis has no recreational use and is recognised as a drug.

During his speech at the graduation ceremony of those who successfully completed Caritas rehabilitation programs, McKay warned that cannabis if becomes legal, it “will be become more popular and accessible which will lead to an increased consumption “.

Stated that Caritas has continued to closely follow the debate on cannabis, and completely agree with the use of medicinal cannabis, where international research shows to be effective. He highlighted that the discussion for medicinal use was separate from that of the law of cannabis production. McKay indicated that there are some who are more vulnerable to cannabis among the teenagers age group.

“2017 with the largest number of women seeking Caritas”

McKay also noted that in 2017, Caritas has seen the highest number of women who entered the residential program and started their journey to rehabilitation. A substantial number of women sought help because they have a dependency on cocaine whilst others use cannabis.

He quoted official statistics of people who appeared before the Drug Offender Rehabilitation Board.  24 Out of the 102 people have successfully completed the rehabilitation program while 66 other people are still engaged in the program.

“Caritas continues to invest in the first two years after rehabilitation”

McKay stressed that the real challenge is the one they will face when rehabilitation is complete. Caritas continues to invest on the first two years of post-residential program, because in his own words these years are crucial. He confirmed what was said by Mons. Victor Grech, upon opening House Charles Miceli, that Aftercare services should be strong.

McKay said that rent is one of the biggest challenges that these graduates face. He remarked how decent living conditions are a human right.

“Caritas changed as necessary”

McKay made reference to how Caritas changed according to need and is a dynamic organisation. Citing that more people are seeking Caritas’ help and said that the semi-residential system was again introduced.

He said that they are working with the Government  to open another community for adolescents and minors who have drug abuse problems.

Appeal to the Graduates

McKay called on the graduates to give back to those who have just started their journey or are about halfway. While he said that overcoming drug addiction is a lifelong process.

Present for the graduation ceremony were, among others, President  Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Archbishop Emeritus Paul Cremona, President Emeritus George Abela, MPs, Monsignor Charles Cordina and Mgr Victor Grech.