The records of the end of gorgeous autumn 2018 I spent improving my skills and knowledge on the Drug Abuse Prevention Training Course which was held on 24-30 November in Gozo, one of the Maltese islands with fascinating views in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. The seminar was part of the biggest project ‘Stand Against Drugs [SADs]’ has been funded with support of the European Commission and therefore included Erasmus+ Key Action 2 - Capacity building in the field of youth. The consortium of project players consists of five countries - Italy, Malta, Romania, Norway and Uzbekistan.
During fully five days of complete immersion to substance abuse issues in Europe, our group of more than twenty people discussed deeply the local realities of drug addiction problem, factors leading to substance abuse and their effects in a multicultural society.
The activities of the program can be divided into two main sessions:
- the first part was dedicated to the fundamental concepts of substance abuse (understanding, reasons leading youth to abuse drugs, indicators, writing assessment tool) and,
- the second part was about drug abuse prevention interventions and youth engagement (strategies to engage youth in substance abuse prevention, community-based initiatives, basic prevention principles in schools and community, drug abuse prevention through youth work)
The magnitude of the drug problem in Europe becomes more apparent when considering the rate of problem drug use in individual countries. For instance, prevalence in Italy reached 9.95 meaning almost 10 out of 1 000 Italians are recognized as a problem drug user, suffering from drug use disorders or drug dependence. Due to our workshops on drug addiction analysis and research in different countries we found out that every country more or less struggled with such situation. I was surprised in Uzbekistan every city district has a special non-state and not a non-for-profit community with old people as a heads and managers which are helped to youngsters and had a role of support centre (I guess because of strong Muslim traditions and culture as well). In Norway much people are suffering from suicide also. Youth can only empower themselves by acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes. Through several case studies prepared by our trainer Clive Bonnici (thank you very much for a fruitful week) I learnt how to create learning opportunities and conditions for empowerment through substance abuse prevention interventions. It was interesting to hear his thoughts and also when he shared his experience with us. For example, a few years ago he decided to make the 7-days hiking tour to the mountains for youngsters who were drug-users. During seven days adolescents had talks under fireplace with psychologists and other Cliffe’s colleagues, and by the end they reached not only the top of the mountain, but also they start to think about all things they did before this trip.