Prevention, Addictions & Therapy – PATh: an European collaboration under the supervision of KETHEA – Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals. Its title also brings a pathway in mind, since it is a common journey of a team of 70 young people, who have the common purpose of changing the opinion and attitude of society on the controversial subject of addictions.
The aim of the program is the development of a structured dialogue on addiction, prevention and accessibility to therapy, healthcare services, education and employment for substance-dependent or formerly dependent people, with respect to their human rights and dignity. More specifically, the project is an opportunity for young people to collaborate on proposing good practices and solutions that could improve the current situation on a national and European level.
By participating to the PATh program, young people had the opportunity to interact, forming a team comprised of young people not only from Greece, but from other European countries as well, such as Croatia, Romania and Poland. Individuals with different experiences and cultural characteristics are given the chance to exchange ideas and thoughts on an important matter that concerns us all. More specifically, in the program participate young people from 18 to 30 years old who are members of the follow organisations: ΗelMSIC-Greece, IFMSA Poland-Poland, Youthnet- Greece, D.G.T – Do Great Things-Romania, Ocean Znanja u Republici Hrvatskoj (Ocean of knowledge) – Croatia, and also formerly addicted individuals from KETHEA’s social reintegration program and “18 Ano” program.
During the 20th & 21st of January, the first meeting of the projects’ participants took place in the National Modern Art Museum in Athens. It was our first time meeting the team in real life, and therefore a chance to get to know each other, to do some team-building and make important decisions that would determine the next phase of the project. As it happens before any new experience, we felt a bit anxious of the unknown. Would we achieve the desired team-building? Would there be fruitful discussion? Would we come to the desired conclusions?
For that reason, we decided to begin the first day of our meeting with exercises for bonding and gaining trust. Even though the large number of participants and the slight embarrassment at the beginning, in the end we managed to get to know each other and to reverse that first feeling of embarrassment into a friendly and familiar feeling.
The positive effect of the team bonding became clear during the second day of the meeting. Through the course of the day the programme included presentation of the different organisations and their research so far, and discussion on the future development of the project. All the members actively took part in the procedures, where we exchanged ideas and opinions, and finally decided what our following steps should be. At the end, we left the meeting ready to take action, not as separate teams anymore, but rather as part of a bigger team, the PATh team.
Our participation and engagement to PATH program shows us how important was the initiative for a program that enables us to affect the way addicted people are treated and to strengthen drug prevention. Through the realization of programs such as PATH it is possible to change the public’s perception of former addicted people, so they are now treated with respect towards their human rights.