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Thursday, June 29, 2006 









GROUPS UNITE
Web Posted - Thu Jun 29 2006
By Janelle Husbands

FIVE local organisations committed to the fight against drugs and substance abuse have come together to form the Anti-Drug Network.

The announcement was made yesterday that the Coalition Against Substance Abuse, the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, Verdun House, Teen Challenge Barbados and Drug Education and Counselling Services will be working closely together to tackle the drug scourge in Barbados in a more holistic manner.

Chairman of the newly formed non-governmental organisation, Pastor Victor Roach explained that after several meetings between the entities it was agreed that there is much more to be gained in the fight against drugs by working together. Our main focus right now is sharing of resources with each other. We are also concerned about enhancing and practising the ethics of the profession and we seek wherever possible to engage governments and international donor agencies on a united basis so that there would be no duplication and overlap in our representations to these funding agencies.

He noted that this collaborative team will also serve as a panel to offer counselling services to persons visiting Barbados during Cricket World Cup 2007. We are fully conscious that the international community will bring to us individuals who have addictions of one sort another, be it drugs or gambling or other substances and rehabilitation and the dynamics of relapse prevention require that they are able to access treatment and counselling and support groups wherever necessary.

We are preparing to assist each other by responding to needs as they arise and wherever necessary doing the appropriate referrals so that while we enjoy the felicities of cricket in the region we are also catering for a very important sector in the community, those who have addiction problems and to aid and augment and to enhance their capacity to sustain their enjoyment of cricket while at the same time not compromising their health.

Executive Director Teen Challenge Stephen Gilkes stressed the key role of partnership and networking if Barbados is to see a decrease in drugs abuse across the island.

It is extremely pivotal at this time that there is networking, information sharing and that there is a united front- all for the benefit of the client, where we have at least four or five different types of intervention strategies to assist. We see that that partnership is extremely important for recovery to play a lasting and an effective role. If we are going to see any impact in the trends that we are seeing today it has to be unified effort, Gilkes stated.

Roger Husbands of the Drug Education and Counselling Service said that it is a phenomenal day when organisations in the anti drug network can come together and unite as one for one common purpose. Edward Young of the Coalition against Substance Abuse (CASA) noted that with the influx of referrals to the voluntary organisation, CASA is finding it difficult to continue its programme.
So we are hoping that by forming this coalition we would try to support each other to continue to provide the kind of counselling that we perform in the community, he said.


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