Salvation Army steps up with Alcohol and Drugs Treatment

Salvation Army has stepped up to provide Alcohol and Drugs Treatment Services in Samoa and they are determined to make a difference and transform lives.

The Alcohol and Drugs Treatment programme officially commenced in August last year.

 “We have had over a 130 clients that came to our programme,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rod Carey, Regional Leader for Samoa.

Clinicians, Natalie and Aukusitino Senio, agree that the programme is critical for Samoa.

“Our programme is open to everybody and that’s the difference,” he said.

The clients are either referred from the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration or people who take themselves.

“Most of our people coming in have something to do with abuse, when they drink more than five standard drinks and make bad decisions.

“It’s like they drink to get drunk and when they’re drunk, that’s when they make not good decisions and that’s abuse which is a pattern of alcohol use.”

The programme has both, one-on-one and group sessions, and these sessions have seen clients from all over Samoa.

“Sixteen to seventeen percent of the guys that are coming through are between the ages of 18-30; majority is males and a lot of them are first offenders as well,” said Mr. Senio.

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“There are no specific villages, urban or rural, our clients come from right across; but often there will be more than one coming in a referral because there’s not just one person involved, so quite often it’s not a single person coming from a village, there’s often more than one, for the offence that was committed,” Natalie explained. 

According to Lieutenant Colonel Rod, the most common crimes committed under the influence of alcohol are assault, theft, threatening words, stone throwing and drunk driving.

“We have an open door policy and we don’t turn anybody away; open to the public, open to everybody, instead of just people from the Court.

“Even people who have dependent problems are welcome to come as self refers, like people who drink so much and want to stop but they can’t stop because there’s that dependency.”

In these cases, the Salvation Army hopes the families or friends pick up on these behaviours and maybe suggest the Alcohol and Drugs Treatment programme, which is free of charge.

“And that’s what we prefer, instead of waiting until someone gets into trouble with the law.

“Maybe, the matais, an elder or even church leaders can pick up on these and refer them, so that we are able to provide that support before they get into trouble,” said Aukusitino.

He said the challenges the clients always face is the mentality that the programme is just something they have no choice but to complete, rather than taking it as a support system.

The lack of support from the clients’ families is another problem.

The AOD clinicians also commended the Ministry of Police for their great work over the Christmas period in managing road safety.

 “There have been a few who have come through since Christmas period due to drunk driving.”

Natalie added that compared to what she saw in 2016, they were very impressed with the number of Police patrols that they saw over the last Christmas period.

“Which we know is a high risk of drunk driving with celebrations and family coming over but the number of Police stop points was noticeably a lot higher, and we thought that was fantastic,” she said.

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