Almost half of residents at OASI and Caritas rehab centres receiving treatment for cocaine abuse

Cocaine abuse is the prevalent addiction being treated at two drug rehabilitation centres

Cocaine abuse
Cocaine abuse

Cocaine abuse is the prevalent addiction being treated in the drug rehabilitation centres run by OASI and Caritas, with 46% of residents receiving treatment to get off the drug.

The OASI Foundation is based in Gozo and caters for the prevention, intervention and treatment services in relation to drug and alcohol abuse and other addictions. Caritas Malta offers a rehabilitation programme for persons suffering from drug/alcohol/gambling problems, providing them with the required life-long support and follow-up with the Aftercare Unit.

According to information tabled in parliament by Social Justice Minister Michael Falzon, there are currently 112 residents at those two centres. Men amount to 83% of residents, while females remain in a minority at 17%.

18% of residents are being treated for heroin abuse, while 11% are receiving treatment for cannabis abuse.

A third of residents at the OASI centre are recovering from alcohol addiction.

591 individuals are also being followed on an outpatient basis at Caritas. The church-run organisation also offers support to 332 family members of addicts.

Malta's parliament approved cannabis legislation in December, now allowing  adults to possess up to 7g, cultivate four plants at home and buy the product from regulated clubs.

A new cannabis authority has been formed with psychotherapist Mariella Dimech, a former Caritas drug rehab coordinator, appointed as the first executive chairperson.

Dimech is a psychotherapist by profession and worked with Caritas for 21 years, half of which she served as coordinator of all drug rehabilitation programmes and services. For six years, she ran the San Blas Therapeutic Community.

The Opposition voted against the law and more than 50 church-led organisations and individuals in a last-ditch effort unsuccessfully petitioned MPs to make the law more restrictive.