Understanding growing Drug Rehabilitation in Malta

Drug Rehabilitation in MaltaIn June 2023, 13 individuals from Caritas Malta – a drug rehabilitation program in Malta – graduated in front of crowds celebrating their success. Those in attendance included President George Vella and Bishop Joseph Galea Curmi, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta.

Alongside Caritas Malta, five individuals graduated from a 14-month residential program that Malta’s Sedqa agency operated. President Vella also celebrated as five more took further steps toward a pure life. 

Malta’s Drug Situation

Malta’s drug situation has grown more concerning in recent years. As recently as 2021, 765 people sought drug rehabilitation in Malta through Caritas alone to overcome drug addictions, where more than half enrolled to overcome cocaine, which leads as one of the three most common drugs in Malta, followed by cannabis and heroin. 

Caritas Malta’s purpose is to “alleviate poverty and promote human development and social justice.” The organization offers diverse services such as social work, counseling, community development and youth programs, including the New Hope Project.

Under the New Hope Project, which addresses substance abuse and drug rehabilitation in Malta, a transformative approach leads the cause. This involves shifting perspectives, identifying the primary needs of those struggling with substance abuse, fostering nurturing environments and maintaining a strong focus on the present and future requirements of project participants.

In the previous year, Caritas Malta provided assistance to 575 individuals who were grappling with poverty, homelessness, mental health challenges, domestic issues and other personal adversities.

According to the National Report on the Drug Situation and Responses in Malta 2021, 75% of unemployed people throughout Malta were in drug treatment programs. Additionally, Maltese users over the last five years accounted for 93.3% of people accessing local remedies and drug rehabilitation in Malta.

National Intervention

Malta has taken a multifaceted approach to address its drug-related challenges, implementing 10 measures to curtail the drug supply to its population of 518,000.

These methods encompass various strategies. And these strategies include ramping up random drug testing for drivers, equipping postal services to scrutinize and monitor packages, establishing a national law enforcement agency focused on prescription and non-prescription misuse and launching a cybercrime unit to oversee online transactions linked to the darknet.

Collaborating with Caritas Malta, the Anti-Poverty Forum Malta commits its efforts to tackling issues of poverty and social exclusion across both Malta and Gozo, the nation’s other island.

In conjunction with the European Anti-Poverty Network, which shares a similar mission with Caritas Malta, the Anti-Poverty Forum Malta extends aid to drug addicts in need.

Those undergoing drug rehabilitation in Malta receive support through the Anti-Poverty Forum. This assistance comprises a comprehensive therapeutic package, including a consistent weekly stipend, contingent on documented evidence of substance abuse. These steps play a pivotal role in minimizing the intersection of poverty and drug rehabilitation in Malta.

Looking Ahead

Although progress is evident in Malta’s drug rehabilitation efforts, sustained commitment remains essential. As outlined in a U.N. Global Report from 2021, featured in the National Drug Policy 2023-2033 by the Government of Malta, approximately 275 million individuals use medication, while around 36 million grapple with substance abuse and nearly 1,000 fatalities are due to addiction.

Through sustained support and acknowledgment, individuals grappling with drug abuse can receive assistance and transition toward a drug-free life, thereby reducing poverty and substance misuse. Organizations like Caritas Malta and Anti-Poverty Forums play a crucial role in this endeavor, facilitating positive outcomes for a more positive future outlook.

– Chandler Doerr
Photo: Unsplash