Samoa sees boost in education counsellors

By Sapeer Mayron 30 January 2019, 12:00AM

A week-long workshop on addiction counselling concluded yesterday for 17 members of the public sector and non-government organisations.

The workshop participants were presented with certificates in the Universal Treatment Curriculum for substance use disorders.

The workshop facilitators, from intergovernmental program The Colombo Plan in Sri Lanka, taught the trainees the basics of drugs and drug addiction, several theories of counselling and the fundamental skills that an addiction counsellor needs.

Dato Zainuddin, Achmad Nuhung and Jayvee Acquino are UTC trainers who conducted previous trainings in Samoa. Trainer leader Mr Zainuddin said the Samoan participants were enthusiastic learners.

“This is one of the most difficult fields to be in,” said Mr Zainuddin

“It’s not easy to be a drug addiction counsellor because you are dealing with people who are often times very unrealistic, very demanding, seldom grateful. 

“You are dealing with individuals who have led difficult lives and the way they respond can sometimes be difficult.”

As well as gaining their certificates in basic counselling skills for addiction professionals, 10 participants (listed below) will sit their International Certified Addiction Profession exam today. Mr Zainuddin expressed confidence in their success.

Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, said drugs are a growing problem not only in Samoa but across the Pacific.

“Illicit drugs, or hard drugs add no value to Samoa. There is no question that drugs wreck lives and communities,” he said.

“The negative effects of drugs affect everyone: the upper class, the middle class and the door. It does not recognise race, colour, creed, religion.”

The problem of drug addiction can be addressed by fiercely prosecuting the dealers, producers and importers of illegal drugs to Samoa, Fuiavailili continued.

He said the training in UTC will help the fight against addiction, to help people “prone to the lure of drugs.”

The training program was funded by the United States Embassy in Samoa, from the U.S State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. 

The Colombo Plan is an intergovernmental program focusing on the development of its member-states across the Asia-Pacific region.

Samoa is not currently a member state, but in his keynote address, United States Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tony Greubel urged Samoa to join and highlighted its benefits.

“Once you are part of it, you are in more regular contact with headquarters – which gives you more access to technical assistance and education programs – so you can keep this ongoing,” he said.

The training program itself was a suggestion of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, added Mr Greubel.

“We talked to the Colombo Plan, we talked to the State Department about a funding source, and it’s worked.”

The trainees going to sit the International Certified Addiction Professional Examination tomorrow are:


A’asa Afoa – Ministry of Police

Alapati Moafanua – Ministry of Police

Iosua Samia – Ministry of Police

Rudolph Ho-Chee - Ministry of Police

Aharoni Viliamu – National Health Service

Usugafono Fepulea’i - National Health Service 

George Tuitama - National Health Service

John Lokeni - National Health Service

Apollo Fata Salafai – Samoa Social Welfare Fesoasoani Trust

Moana Solomona – Ministry of Justice Courts and Administration


And the trainees who have completed Course 4 of the Universal Treatment Curriculum for substance use disorders. 

Christopher Sinclair – Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Folole Lemisio – SPCS

Frank Fuaava Telea – Ministry for Revenue

Maselani Talai – Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Saumaa Asemaia – Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Taumaia Esera – Goshen Trust

Mary Collins – Samoa Social Welfare Fesoasoani Trust

By Sapeer Mayron 30 January 2019, 12:00AM

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