CASA Lauded For Helping Vulnerable Groups

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Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (FP)??

A Government Minister has lauded the Centre for Counseling Addiction and Support (CASA) for its effort in developing programmes geared at sensitising young people about the relationship between drug use and misuse and HIV/AIDS.

This praise has come from Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, who delivered the feature address at CASA’s 10th Anniversary Dinner and Awards Ceremony, recently at the Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Inniss explained that CASA provided counseling for a number of vulnerable groups in society.

"Clearly CASA as a community-based organisation is offering a sterling service to the drug rehabilitation process. This contribution is in consonance with my ministry’s position that there must be involvement and participation from a wide stakeholder base, including the judiciary, church, labour, social care services, education, non-governmental and community-based organisations. It is only when we utilise our collective abilities to address the problem of substance abuse or other social disorder that we can be assured of deriving a positive outcome," he noted.

The Health Minister assured Barbadians that government would continue to partner with CASA to improve substance abuse treatment services in the island.

"The Ministry of Health has embraced the work being done by this substance abuse treatment centre and remains committed to offering its support.?? As testimony to this, for the past three years CASA has been included in our annual budget of expenditure and receives a subvention of BDS$60,000 per annum through the Psychiatric Hospital to assist in the provision of services for persons with substance abuse and related problems," he added.

He stated that since 2002, Government’s expenditure for substance abuse had significantly increased, with a partnership agreement with the private sector to provide substance abuse treatment to Barbadians.

"Government’s expenditure rose from $26,000 in the 2002-2003 financial year, to $1.1 million disbursed on a fee for service basis for treatment of clients during the 2010-2011 financial year.

"Over the past seven years, residential substance abuse facilities received a total of $5.5 million and commencing [in] 2007, counseling services have been provided with $60,000 for community-based outpatient programmes," Mr. Inniss declared.

The Minister of Health underlined that it was important to focus on drug prevention since it was important to address the issue before it became an actual problem.

"Substance abuse takes a huge toll on any country.?? It is, therefore, prudent to focus on its prevention, since it is far more beneficial economically to address this issue before it becomes a problem.??

Since studies have shown that in many cases drug use begins before adolescence, particular emphasis should be placed on interventions for children," he stressed.

aisha.reid@barbados.gov.bb

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