human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Heritage of love

Wirt ta’ Mħabba

On Wednesday 26 June 2019, 16 people, including two women, whose ages range between 20 – 55, successfully completed a drug rehab programme within Caritas Malta and participated in a graduation ceremony to celebrate life. The ceremony, which had as its theme ‘Wirt ta’ Mħabba’ ‘Heritage of Love’ was presided over by H.E. President George Vella, who presented certificates to the graduates.

In 2018, Caritas Malta had 738 people seeking help for drug addiction. For the first time in Caritas’ history, the number of people seeking help with a cocaine dependency (41%) surpassed those with a dependency on heroin (31%). Around 23% of patients sought help for cannabis dependence. During the ceremony speech, the Director of Caritas Malta Anthony Gatt said that:

These are indications of where the drug trends are going. We are seeing serious damage caused by synthetic drugs and clients sometimes are unsure of what substance they are consuming. We are concerned about cheaper drugs and stronger substances. These factors strengthen dependence.

Society needs to work harder to strengthen the family and not be afraid of discipline which stems from love. Family is the vital cell of every society, and the collapse of the family is a threat to our societies. Therefore, Caritas Malta strongly hopes that there will not be any possibilities of legal access to cannabis for recreational use. Caritas Malta’s Director corroborates the position that legal access to cannabis for personal use will cause more harm than good, giving a message to young people that cannabis is not so dangerous. There is strong scientific evidence showing that the effects of cannabis on the developing brain trigger long term deleterious consequences. Furthermore, legalisation will increase risk for those susceptible to mental health problems and to those recovering from addiction.

H.E. President of Malta George Vella stated that this celebration is a small recognition of the continuous journey to a better and healthier life. The President strongly appealed to the Maltese population to implement a policy of inclusion so that people will no longer be dependent on drugs to feel part of society.

H.E. Archbishop of Malta Charles J Scicluna said that one would be deceiving oneself if he refers to any drug as ‘recreational’. H.E. Archbishop added that everyone needs to take responsibilities for their actions and that the 16 people who graduated have clearly understood the consequences of their choices, all this with the power of love.

This ceremony marks the 30th anniversary of Caritas’ rehabilitation programme in Malta. Each year staff and volunteers give their utmost to make this event a memorable one. Over 600 people gathered to witness this celebration of life.