“We must fight drug use from primary school”

© “The control unit”

According to data published byEmcddaspecifically the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, an agency of the European Union and the European Report on Drugsin Italy, a third of the population, between 15 and 64 years, yes drug use at least once in his life and a tenth has used it in the last year. The most consumed drug is cannabiswith one in ten people having used it at least once in the last twelve months.

Cannabis seizure (© ANSA)

Changes and the therapeutic process

In the past, especially in the 70s and 80s, with the predominant use of certain substances, such as heroin and cocainethe therapeutic and pharmacological options, withdrawal symptoms, and human and social dynamics that were established had some uniformity. Give it 90 to date instead, with the arrival of the so-called synthetic drugsthe problem of drug addictions and related therapies, has taken on a increasing complexity for all the players on the playing field they had to find new and unprecedented solutions to help people get out of this tunnel. Interris.it, on this subject, interviewed don Diego Fogniniborder chaplain, founder of the pedagogical-rehabilitative community “The control unit” in the locality of Cermeledo, in the municipal term of Morbegno, in the province of Sondrio, which welcomes adult men with problems with alcohol and drug addiction. He is also the author of the book “Love does not exclude anyone”.

don Diego Fognini, founder of “La Centralina”

The interview

Don Diego, how was “La Centralina” born and what are its goals?

“La Centralina” was born in March 1991. The intention at that time was to create a youth aggregation center, but then we were faced with serious emerging problems, which began to exist in La Valtellina but in the area of Milan, they had already been done. present for a few years. We met with other people, including two doctors and others working in different social sectors, and from there we created a day center for people with disabilities, such as borderline people and young people with psychiatric problems. We started from here. The structure was not the current one, but an old house where the old people who resided in the nursing home of Morbegno, the summer months, came to make their vacation, therefore, during the summer, it was necessary coexist with them. In the early days, through planting courses, we were able to create work camps, conducted in synergy with Enaip and with the help of volunteers, in which the boys who lived here were cared for. Over time, however, we realized that the problem of drug addiction was beginning to move forward, so we began to embark on this path with two / three people coming from outside. Then we asked the municipality to use the building known as “La Centralina” which was once a small hydroelectric plant now disused. However, at one point, one of the first girls living here, HIV-positive, became ill and died one night. After accompanying her to her home and celebrating the funeral one night, the house was set on fire and this caused a lot of damage. After this event, the second phase of the community began. There was an educator who always resided here and this type of activity began. Then, after doing a first screening, we started working with a dozen boys and the results were excellent because, out of ten who started the therapeutic path, eight managed to complete it. After a while some renovations have been done and now, after ten years, we have this property. During this period, thousands of people have passed through here, we have been accredited in the Lombardy Region and, in the meantime, we have also created a day center for people with psychiatric problems. “La Centralina”, on the other hand, continues to be a community of pedagogical rehabilitation. We currently have 20 places available and people are starting to arrive from all over Lombardy. If we reread all this today, we realize that the environment has changed, but above all it has changed the way we take drugs. There was once, for example, someone who took cocaine, heroin or marijuana. Unfortunately, today, however, those who arrive here have taken all kinds of substances and, therefore, the problem becomes much more difficult because they are already very committed when they arrive at “La Centralina”. We wonder what we need to cure, the person, the addiction or the psyche because most of these people have psychiatric problems. This is the result of today in which drugs, which are shit, hit people’s heads and make it difficult to establish our starting point. This is the great difficulty we encounter, especially in very young children ”.

© “The control unit”

How could drug use be prevented? How could institutions intervene to combat this phenomenon more effectively and help children entering the drug tunnel?

“This is a big problem. I think we need to start fighting this phenomenon from primary school. It’s important to emphasize that these substances harm people, who can no longer break away from them because, when they use them, they they feel strong and perceive that they have a kind of primacy over everything and everyone.This becomes a serious problem because often when these children have to do activities and do not feel a certain way, they are not well and do not present themselves to Rogoredo’s experience teaches that many of these people have never had good things or positive assessments from their parents.The reasons are different, for example because they did not achieve the goals that a father wanted. a boy is not left with the choice, it is obvious that he does not feel appreciated and responsible for his life, because it seems to him that others guide him. family, friends or dive problems rsos, but to everything around them. From school, where perhaps, in some cases, the children were not appreciated, their talents were not seen or they were not what the teachers expected. School dropout today is very high, because children cannot do it. The school must have an educational aspect and it is precisely in this element where the teacher must be able to draw the beautiful elements that the child brings with him, not the ones he wants. Important work needs to be done in educational institutions to ensure that all students feel important. When you feel valued, you no longer need substances to be active. It is the children themselves who feel alive and valued and, as a result, stay away from drugs. If we show them the dish of drugs and the dish of life, everyone will choose the latter with friendships, joy and happiness, rather than that of life that disappears and escapes under the influence of substances. Clearly, however, you need to have passion and take the time to help people get out of this situation. It is the work we try to do in Rogoredo, not so much to bring food or clothes, but to stop and talk to them to listen to their respective problems and difficulties. Sometimes, even after a year, it is possible to make them appreciate their life and some decide to join the community. Maybe only one in ten commits the crime, but that gives satisfaction because the person has come back to life and is no longer in the hell of drugs.

What are your wishes for the future? How can those who wish to do so help their action?

“Dreams are many. In particular, always being able to give something good to these guys. The most important element is the daily example, to make sure they are convinced and confident of their path. Only in this case is it possible to understand the meaning of the process of rebuilding oneself, without saying now, because they are here, that drugs make shit. Otherwise, when they leave the community, they immediately find the drug dealer who makes them fall back into the tunnel of addiction. They come out if they understand that you have to learn to be yourself, not relate to people just to exploit them and take care of yourself. Only in this way can this moment be overcome. In addition to this, it is difficult to find educators who, at the level of study, are very well prepared, but humanly very weak and here we do not need theory but practice, it is a place where humanity must grow. We must find people who, in their identity cards, have written “profession of humanity”; this is a great effort that we encounter daily. Volunteers are essential but they have to be men, these guys have to change and they are not poor. Volunteer training is very important but there is often little time to do it because the days are very busy. We have different ways you can help us, such as giving away your 5 × 1000 or making a small donation for the fruits and vegetables we grow here ”.

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