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Press Release by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights: Following a programme against addictions and promoting a better quality of life

09.11.2021 | Press Releases

Reference Number: PR212010

Twenty-nine entities and local companies were awarded recognition for having successfully completed the S.A.F.E programme (Substance Abuse-Free Employees Programme), as carried-out on behalf of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services – a programme focusing on awareness against drug and alcohol addictions, and how these could prove to be detrimental both for the person in question, as well as concerning the respective workplace itself. 

This ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, Michael Falzon, as well as the Chief Executive of the FSWS, Alfred Grixti, together with several professionals running the S.A.F.E. programme in turn. 

The S.A.F.E programme has been readily provided to those individuals in need during the last 25 years, where the ultimate aim of this programme is to be spread out across the country in it’s entirety. In addition to awareness against drug and alcohol addictions, lessons were also carried-out as relating to technology, bullying, gambling, work-life balance and stress management as well. 

During the last 25 years, this programme was implemented within 334 companies around Malta and Gozo, with a total of more than 28,748 participants having been reached overall. The employees who have successfully completed this programme range from company owners, to managers and manual labourers, as amongst others. 

Minister Michael Falzon stated that the government is continuing to invest to the full, in order to be able to address the problems linked to addictions, and further explained how this programme is one that prevents, more than resolving, the problem itself. Minister Michael Falzon claimed that the investment in the FSWS was further strengthened, to such an extent that during the next year an investment of €29 million will be carried-out respectively.

Minister Michael Falzon also declared that during this year investments were carried-out at the Centre for Residential Rehabilitation Services – Saint Mary’s Community in Ħal Farruġ, where the upgrading and renovation of the centre’s third phase was performed in turn. At this phase, those individuals going through the rehabilitation programme would be close to reintegrating back into society. 

The Chief Executive of the FSWS, Alfred Grixti, claimed that the foundation allocates upwards of €900,000 annually on prevention against addictions. In spite of this, the overall expenditure on actual addiction treatment is more than twice the total amount spent on prevention, and thus there is the need for further knowledge and programmes such as these. 

“We want to see that this work is further spread out, so as to be able to assist in the best possible manner those persons who are experiencing difficulties in relation to drug use. In this manner, all of the necessary assistance would be able to be provided in time, instead of ending up at the point where workers end up losing their jobs,” stated the Chief Executive of the FSWS, Alfred Grixti. 

In the meantime, there were 19,082 service users who were in need of assistence from the FSWS as during the year 2020, whereas by the end of June of this year, there have already been reported a further total of 16,046 cases.