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Substance Abuse Secretariat Programmes Target the Workplace and the Bordelais Correctional Facility

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Thursday, June 09, 2005 - A drug awareness programme designed specifically for the workplace is now being pitched to employers and employees in both the public and private sectors. The Programme dubbed “Wide Awake in the Workplace” is the brainchild of the Substance Abuse Secretariat along side the Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre.

Officer in Charge of the Secretariat Mrs. Elizabeth Serieux Wilson says this novel programme was developed in response to several requests for more programmes specifically targeting the workforce.

“We realise there was a great demand for information and awareness sessions at different workplaces island wide. While we responded to that, we also realised that most of the workplaces don’t have any workplace policies and that there is need for a standard education programme to be delivered to employers and employers in work places So we decided to come up with the Wide Awake at Work Programme which deals with drug use and how it impacts on the workplace.”

According to Mrs. Serieux the programme takes a broad approach and is not meant to distinguish between drug users and other workers, but focuses on how drug use adversely affects lives and reduces productivity in the workplace.

“The responses to the actual sessions have been amazing. People have a lot of questions, a lot of comments and a lot of information that we - the Secretariat need to get cleared up and get out there.”

Employers have also indicated their willingness to formulate policies which are customised to meet the needs of their respective workplaces. The policy she says should essentially go beyond general terms such as smoking restrictions, to define in detail, the organisation’s position regarding substance abuse by employees.

A survey will also be undertaken to determine the level of drug use in the workplace, so as to inform the policy.

The Wide Awake in the Workplace sessions begun in May and is expected to run on a continuous basis.

Meanwhile, another programme of the Secretariat will address the co-relation between drug abuse and crime. The two-fold programme is directed at the officers and inmates of the Bordelais Correctional Facility located in Dennery. Mrs Wilson says they are meeting with the staff of the facility to give information which will encourage the staff responses to drug use to be informed by factual knowledge and to develop the competence to determine the impact of drug abuse by inmates on the wider community.

The focus will gradually shift to the inmates who will also become candidates of a survey to be conducted on drug abuse and criminal behaviour. Mrs. Serieux says the information will be analysed and used to direct future programmes of the Substance Abuse Secretariat.

The programme of Drug and Substance Abuse Awareness which was recently initiated at the institution has been well received as a catalyst for rehabilitation and support services for inmates.

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