Watch: “We should accept rehabilitated addicts with open arms” – President

Even 15-year olds struggle with drug abuse, according to the OASI Foundation.

President George Vella stated that the Maltese should always be ready to welcome back those who have overcome their substance abuse problems. He said this during a visit to the Saint Mary Community, which falls under Sedqa, the national agency. This is on the occasion of 26th June being the World Day against drug use and illicit trafficking.

The President stressed that victims must not be ashamed, and should speak and admit freely that they have a problem. He explained the importance of rehabilitation programmes to psychologically strengthen individuals.

He thanked all those who form part of the community, the administration and the residents, and called for authorities to ensure that children and youths are well-educated on the ill-effects of drug abuse.

The Minister for Social Solidarity Michael Falzon stated that the Government must aid whoever needs it without prejudice. He called for stronger social and professional structures to safeguard against addictions and other ills.

“We’ve even treated 15-year olds for drug abuse” – OASI

The OASI Therapy and Rehabilitation Team has even treated 15-year olds for addiction difficulties, which are usually mainly related to cocaine and cannabis abuse. The OASI Foundation notes that the earlier in life one introduces drugs in their body, the larger the probability that they will embark on a long-term problematic use of drugs.

In a statement, the OASI Foundation explained that such teenagers apply and access both residential and community-based therapy, describing this as “worrying”.  It notes that studies have continuously demonstrated that substance abuse (including alcohol and nicotine) has devastating and long-lasting effects on brains that are still in development up till the age of around 25. However, youth is also a time for experimentation and wanting to be accepted, which is what can lead young people to be trapped by addiction.

26th June marks the OASI Foundation’s day of institution, and 2020 marks its 29th anniversary. Since its birth, OASI Foundation has been disseminating and empowering the importance of preventing substance abuse amongst the younger generation. This involves the dissemination of information in various youth spaces, as well as providing a recreative incentive for young people to engage in activities such as sports and arts.

On this day, OASI Foundation wants to reinstate that promoting a culture where drugs (including alcohol and nicotine) can be used for recreational purposes is highly socially corrosive.