GIS - 02 July, 2019: A three-day international conference, aimed at training participants in addictions counseling, kicked off yesterday at the Intercontinental Hotel at Balaclava. The opening ceremony was held in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Jugnauth.
The Conference, with the theme “Bringing hope to those struggling with drugs, sex, and gambling addictions”, is being organised from 01 July to 03 July 2019, by the NGO, Beacon of Hope(BoH), whose vision is to accompany and support those who are struggling with either substance; sex; or gambling addictions through social, educational and spiritual services.
In his address, the Prime Minister highlighted that presently, the consumption of drugs, especially synthetic drugs, has reached alarming levels and affects not only addicts, but destroy families as well and puts at stake the social cohesion of the society. Furthermore, he stated that addressing the drug scourge requires a comprehensive and multisectoral approach and all enforcement agencies including law enforcement agencies; health services; NGOs; and the community at large must work relentlessly as a team to fight against the proliferation of illicit drugs in all its forms.
Mr Jugnauth underscored that proliferation of addiction in the country is alarming. According to the Mauritius Prison Service, some 60% of inmates admitted in May 2019, out of which 21% are women, suffer from drug addiction.
He further pointed out that in the year 2015, Government has established a new Commission of Inquiry on Drug Trafficking to inquire into the extent of the illicit drug consumption, its economic and social consequences and the availability of new types of drugs, including synthetic drugs. The Commission has made several recommendations and some of them have already been implemented while others are being analysed by a high level committee, he added.
International addictions conference
The goals of the Conference, the first of its kind being hosted by BoH, are to: raise greater awareness among the citizens of Mauritius about drug, gambling, and sexual addictions prevalent in the African region; identify new ways of dealing with the concerns and challenges as well as practical solutions that can be adopted in the field of addiction therapy; better understand addiction within the Mauritian culture and; and provide an opportunity for clinicians, social workers, and health care professionals to network and exchange fruitful ideas regarding addiction treatment.
Conference participants will have the opportunity to attend a variety of presentations during the video conferences and breakout sessions through the use of contemporary addictions research and will be required to provide concrete recommendations for addiction treatment at individual and community levels. The audience targeted during the conference are mainly: Mental Health Counselors, therapists, psychologists, social workers, physicians, nurses, treatment center owners and operators, gambling facilities owners, law enforcement officers, advocates, families, people in recovery, public health and government officials, university professors and students, school administrators and teachers.
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