Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and Development Benefits from an International Training
A youth serving Agency and Drug prevention organization in Sierra Leone Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and Development (FDID) has benefited from a three days training conference organized by the New York city Harm Reduction Coalition in the United States of America. This training session attracted representatives from various organizations working on Harm Reduction the world over and it took place on from the 23rd to the25th of July 2013.
Harm Reduction is an approach to addiction which supports people who engage in addictive behaviors and their communities by maximizing the negative impact of alcohol, drug, and other addictive behaviors. As Harm Reduction strategies are controversial, information about its programs is not always available especially in West Africa.
Drug overdose has now become a global concern as overdose is quietly competing with vehicular accident in western countries.
In America overdose is a leading cause of accidents, injury and death. Opioid drugs are leading surge, contributing to the loss of sixteen thousand Americans every year. This training was based on the principle of integrative Harm Reduction, a model of addressing substance misuse and other risky behaviors that has been developed over the years. Inherent to this is an understanding that substance abuse and other risky behaviors are due to the complex interaction of biological, psychological, and socio relational factors. The focus in this training therefore was on providing a compassionate, acceptance based and non-judgmental environment from which to explore the multiple meanings of addictive behaviors and to develop a way to “meet the individual where he or she is” in terms of their unique strength and motivation for change. This approach supports the development of self-regulation skills to reduce risk and promote positive change. Central to this approach is the desire to cultivate non-judgmental awareness of drug intake and alcohol drinking patterns and to develop ways to reduce risk and enhance well-being.
The consultant on this training conducted needs assessment and program evaluations; identify appropriate Harm Reduction services for all agencies and organizations that were in attendance. And developed an implementation and service integration plan. The training was tailored to meet the needs of every continent. Prominent among the course structure or outline wear topics like: Boundary issues for substance use, Engaging young people at risk and domestic violence, Substance use and Harm Reduction techniques.
The training was primary designed for physicians, Psychologists, Nurse practitioners, Clinical nurse specialists, Outreach/Social workers and Case managers.
Certificate of completion were distributed to all participants at the end of the training session.
This International training has not only benefited FDID as an organization but it will also help Sierra Leone as a nation to prevent and fight drug overdose especially among the youths. It is time for the government of Sierra Leone to know that drug use is an enduring part of our communities and that we MUST take steps to reduce the harm associated with drug use. We should also accept as a nation that drug users are deserving of the same Human rights, dignity and compassion as anyone else in the country. It is time for the government to involve themselves with massive prevention drive as a means to frustrate the illicit drug build up among the youths.
By Hindowa E. Saidu
NOTE: Hindowa E.Saidu is the Executive Director of Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and Development. He can be reached on 7680066/fdidslgmail.com
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