First group of patients detoxed, psychological healing to follow


Guests and patients at the ceremony on Tuesday

This was announced during an activity organised at the centre on Tuesday evening, where a number of guests had turned up to show their support to the young people there.

They included the Minister for Health Mitcy Larue, her principal secretary Veronique Laporte, a number of representatives from the President’s Office and director general for youth affairs Fatoumata Sylla.

Around a third of the 26 patients who had enrolled in the centre when it recently opened, are now practically rid of the drugs they were addicted to and will now start psychological sessions to eventually be re-integrated into society.

The event also saw one of the patients celebrate his birthday, and whose mother had provided a cake for the occasion. After a praise and worship session, birthday songs were sang and the patient cut his cake to the cheering of all present.

There were also emotional testimonies by the patients, some of whom explained their journey through the detoxification process.

Others affirmed their determination to beat their addiction, while others still made use of the occasion to apologise to their parents, family and society for all the wrong-doings while under the influence of drugs.

There were comparisons on how they had been when they first arrived at the centre – aggressive, angry, and expressing other negative behaviours – and today, when they are energetic, happy and actually looking forward to the rest of their lives.

The director general at the President’s Office, Doreen Arnephy, said they were showing their support for the institution due to a number of young people coming to the very gates of State House, seeking help for their addiction.

“Lots of young people were asking when the centre will be opened and were desperate for help, and today we are showing and will continue to show that we care and that we are here for the youth,” she said.

With the ceremony in full swing, a number of patients were seen translating the speeches to foreign guests present as they were being delivered, to which the coordinators of the centre affirmed that the patients were intelligent young people who had simply lost their way.

The nurse-in-charge of the programme at the centre, Jeff Confiance, said detoxification is a lengthy process, which involves much more than simply getting rid of the drugs in the patients’ bodies.

“A great improvement has taken place in these young people, compared to when they were first admitted here. After these two weeks, they can now go home at the end of each day if they wish to, but have to return every day for counselling and other sessions, which will prepare them to re-join society,” he said.

“It is important to note that this does not mean that there will not be relapses. It does happen – more often than not – that patients relapse and we are here to make sure that they get all the support and treatment possible to kick the habit, although they also have to want to achieve this.”

Mr Confiance said that recovery among the patients have exceeded expectations, although it is too early to celebrate and call it a success story.


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