The battle against drugs is won by putting the person back at the center (06/24/2022)

We are here to celebrate the “World Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”established by the UN, without anyone really caring. This year’s theme is: “Addressing the challenges of drugs in health and humanitarian crisesA challenge that is constant and daily for Fict with its 600 services for pathological addictions, a constantly evolving phenomenon. The latest EU report reveals how many traditional drugs have never been so accessible in the last year 5,800 deaths from overdose, almost 16 deaths a day from drugs, of which 350 in Italy alone.
Data that really impresses and respects the need to put people at the center and therefore the Services that serve them. Services that in recent years have been increasingly marginalized and forgotten.

#CareInCrises is the motto chosen this year by the UN and it is the work that accredited public and private social workers do daily and “heroically” precisely because in Italy we have a system of services governed by a law on addictions, hibernating in 1990, and therefore unable to respond to the needs of a world, that of addictions, profoundly changed from what it was thirty years ago. A regulatory framework that draws a model of intervention very focused on the problem and not on people. For this reason, the Fict, on the occasion of World Day, this year proposes the motto “The person at the center, not the problem. #primalpeople “

Communities and SerDs “panting” over the territories in a desperate search for oxygen, burdened by the pandemic and now also by the humanitarian and economic crisis of the Ukrainian war. I further marginalizing the service system is the reactivation of the ideological and anachronistic debate about legalization and about the “right” to do so, which puts substance back at the center of the debate..
A battle against the substance we already know, lost at first, while the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of the person, which should be essential, are completely ignored, due to the normalization of use and a consequent decrease in risk perception. A political disinvestment of more than ten years that has led to advances in the intervention system, undermining the fundamental right to health, which means recognizing the right to dignity of people and, therefore, services.

Minors, more and more young people …, adults, men and women who are becoming more chronic despite the efforts of public and private social workers who are struggling due to a lack of staff and resources. The report to Parliament, based on 2020 data, refers to 125,000 people with problems with addiction to illegal substances, but only has “users” in charge of the Health Service, that is, to that limited part of subjects who can still intercept through the “official” system of services. Another part of the phenomenon is missing, which is estimated to be 5 times larger (we are talking about more than half a million Italians) and that, instead, it is not possible to intercept with very obsolete services, regulated by a law of more than 30 years ago. In fact, the Ser.D. and communities can only “serve” 1/5 of the people who would need help. And the numbers are even more impressive if we consider the rest of the world of addictions, mainly so-called behavioral (internet, games, etc.), but also alcohol and psychotropic drugs.

Figures that Covid has even aggravated, paving the way for new psychoses and addictions, showing the way to new markets, less demanding and much more dangerous: it is estimated that the “dark web”, the dark part of the network, has more than tripled drug turnover. It should come as no surprise, then, that 26% of our school-age children, more than 1 in 4, have used illegal substances in the last year. The abandonment of the policy of educational culture and preventive actions has forced us to work in the territories in a logic of the “here and now”, of emergency, causing educational gaps to the detriment of young people.

One can only get out of this situation by completely changing the paradigm, entering into a logic of proximity which means starting from relationships, breaking distances, differences in the healthcare sector, where with patients in series A and B, there are also those in series C, those forgotten by all, those rejected …. , because basically. the stigma persists that “the addict, after all, seeks it …”.
It means really starting to structure in a concrete way an integrated public and private social system, with a vision of taking territorial responsibility, able to guarantee not only equal dignity, but also and above all the effective execution of the right to choose and care for citizen.

* President of the Italian Federation of Therapeutic Communities

Opening photo by Mikail Duran on Unsplash

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