[WATCH] New Caritas therapeutic centre to offer specialised treatment for young drug abusers

The centre will fill the need for a safe place where young people suffering from substance abuse and behavioural issues can receive proper treatment

The centre is being built on a stretch of land over which PD MP Marlene Farrugia had held a lease, but an agreement was reached to transfer this onto the government
The centre is being built on a stretch of land over which PD MP Marlene Farrugia had held a lease, but an agreement was reached to transfer this onto the government
New Caritas therapeutic centre to offer specialised treatment for young drug abusers

Works are ongoing on a new therapeutic centre which will be offering specialised care for young people with drug abuse issues and who have serious behavioural problems.

The centre has required an investment of €3.3 million, will be run by Caritas and will house a maximum of 20 adolescents.

Caritas director Anthony Gatt said the centre, which should be operational by next year, will provide a safe place for young people facing serious challenges related to substance abuse and anti-social behaviour, which previously would either end up being sent to Mount Carmel or else to prison, since Malta lacked an adequate facility targeted for such persons.

"Last year, Caritas saw around cases of 40 minors experiencing difficulties, six of whom were very severe cases. The decision was taken to take those six cases under the care of Caritas, in its adult treatment units, because this was a better option for them instead of prison or Mount Carmel Hospital. These severe cases are, however, a minority."

With the new centre, such adolescents would no longer need to be placed in the same treatment facility as adults, which could end up having negative effects on them, Gatt highlighted.

"God willing, next year we won't have to face the issue of not having the right place to treat these adolescents. This new therapeutic centre will address this."

The centre is being built on a stretch of land over which PD MP Marlene Farrugia had held a lease, but an agreement was reached to transfer this onto the government.

It will include facilities such a place for agricultural activities, a pet therapy area and a multi-purpose gym, Gatt said.

He went on to thank the government, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Archbishop Charles Scicluna for the support they had given for the project.

Life needs to be taken care of, not just at birth - Prime Minister

The Prime Minister said that the project was a demonstration of all stakeholders coming to work for the cause.

He noted that it entailed not only the construction of the centre but also specialised training of staff.

"We didn't have enough know how to deal with the young people, who include children," he said, highlighting that staff had visited a similar centre in Ireland to gain more training using a transfer of expertise and knowledge.

"There has been a lot of talk about life," Muscat said, in apparent reference to the abortion issue, "This is a pro-life project. Life is not only given at birth but has to be taken care of afterwards."

On his part, Family Minister Michael Falzon said the centre would be giving direction to young people in society who have deviated off the path that they should be following.

"We needed a centre for people for whom the solution isn't to put them in jail or send them to Mount Carmel," he said.

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