Escalating drug problem: Prevention and treatment not just law and order

Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Addressing the escalation of the drug problem in Sri Lanka is not only about developing new anti-narcotic forces but also about evolving education, prevention and treatment. The International Colloquium of Addiction Related Organizations or ICARO, held its first big conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 9 to 11 September with these ends in mind.

ICARO was formed in May 2017 and represents organisations from over 10 countries including Sri Lanka that work in addiction related prevention, treatment and education. They aim to aid the advancement of best practices and professionalism within this field. Those attending the workshops facilitated by the consortium were awarded certificates earning them credits with Namseoul University in Korea.

As the article in last week’s Sunday Times entitled ‘Escalation of the world drug problem’ by Professor Ravindra Fernando stated, the amount of narcotic substances being seized in Sri Lanka has increased. If the amount of drugs being seized is seen as the economic result of demand rather than just an isolated factor, underlying this must be a market place of people fuelling the trade with their need for narcotics. 

With 64,000 fatal overdoses reported by the National Centre for Health Statistics in 2016 this certainly seems to be the case. And while the Sri Lankan government is clearly working tirelessly to ensure the destruction of the drugs trade, issues surrounding education, prevention and treatment are also fundamental to saving lives.

In attendance at the ICARO event in Thailand was Jeevaka Wijesinghe from Certis Lanka and the international team from the Seasons Hader Group who run therapeutic treatment centres in Australia, Sri Lanka, Bali and Thailand. Seasons Sri Lanka opened in August 2017 and is a partnership between Cerits Lanka and the Seasons Hader Group. This is the first holistic, compassion focused rehab on the island. 

This effective psychosocial model can provide a medically supported detox if the client requires and includes a multifaceted program of 28, 60 or 90 days. This incorporates conventional, evidence based practices such as CBT and process groups as well as alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. The founder of the Seasons Hader Group, Richard Smith, is also the Vice President of ICARO bringing over 20 years of experience helping addicts and their families to both roles.

He said: “The ICARO event was a great success and we hope to hold many more so as to further professionalism and ethical conduct within the addiction treatment industry. It is only by addiction treatment organisations working together that we are going to be able to make a difference across the world.”

Attended by over 50 people from all across Asia Pacific, the ICARO event took place at the Duangtawan Hotel in Chiang Mai. The three day event included talks by recovering addicts on what worked for them, visits to the Dawn and Seasons Thailand rehab centres and a colourful recovery walk around the city where attendees flew flags from their myriad of different countries. The training offered at the event covered ‘Standards and Ethics’, ‘Recovery and Continuing Care’ and ‘Building Community Coalitions to Prevent Substance Abuse’.

If you or anyone you know has a problem with addiction to drugs or alcohol call Seasons Sri Lanka today on +94 77 340 4 340 and speak to one of the experts.