Current Affairs
Sedqa Agency commemorates 25 years of providing support to those afflicted by dependencies

The Sedqa Agency is commemorating the 25th anniversary of its foundation throughout which it has worked for and provided support for those entrapped with vice tendencies, including drugs abuse.

Among other commemorations, the Agency is remembering Dr Maria Sciberras who in 1987 began lobbying for support for drugs abuse victims and this led to the opening of the Detox Centre. The Executive Head of FSWS, Alfred Grixti, said the professionals within Sedqa handle about 3,000 cases of various vice dependencies throughout the year. These vary from drugs to alcohol and more recent vice developments such as the internet and gambling.

During a media conference, Alfred Grixti expressed his understanding that traditional dependence on drugs and other illicit substances has remained consistently proportionate to the size of the population.

He said the same situation applies to alcohol even though the Agency has intensified its drive through an educational prevention campaign against alcohol consumption. He also expressed his concern that Malta has a high rate of alcohol consumption and attributed this to a cultural situation in the country where alcohol consumption begins at a young age.

Alfred Grixti said that in future Sedqa will also concentrate on new dependencies.

These include excessive use of the internet for online gaming purposes which is resulting in people living in a virtual world removed from reality … also through use of social media which takes up a lot of their time and stunts their human development.

He said Sedqa forms part of the Fondazzjoni għas-Servizzi tal-Ħarsien Soċjali and provides a holistic service based on actual research. The 150 Agency professionals are highly flexible and respond to the changing attitudes of society.

Grixti said the approach is multi-disciplined and includes doctors specialising in drugs or alcohol dependence, specialised nurses, social workers, community workers and family therapists because the Agency also helps families where there are cases when a child is spending four hours daily on the internet or a smart ‘phone.

He said the Agency’s work is based on prevention, on giving a service to the community and providing services of residential specialisation for those that suffer dependencies.

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