New Mental Health Bill to address substance abuse
Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony recently noted that the new Mental Health Bill 2022, currently before a Special Select Committee in Parliament, will cater for persons struggling with substance abuse, to ensure they receive the necessary support to return to normalcy.
The minister explained that substance abuse is classified under the mental health act, and can have seriously impact on family members, hence there is a need for open conversations on this issue to find possible solutions.
“If people want to de-escalate from being an addict to getting back to normalcy, they would often need help, they would need counselling, they would need support during this period, and we need to build that system,” he said.
With regards alcohol abuse, the health minister said, consuming the substance is socially acceptable, and as such persons might not realise when they become addicts. He noted that it is important to educate persons on the detrimental effects that alcohol abuse have on a person’s health, and their social circle.
Similarity, in terms of illicit substances, whether it’s marijuana or cocaine or other substances, Dr. Anthony said government is working to have clinics that will offer the support needed.
“What we are proposing, what we’re thinking about is to be able to develop, whether publicly or in partnership with private sector entities or NGOs, to be able to expand our capacity to offer institutional support to these persons with addiction problems,” the minister said.
Currently, Phoenix Recovery and the Salvation Army deal with the rehabilitation of persons with addiction.
However, they face many challenges in terms of the number of persons that can be admitted at any one given time, and the capacity to treat the patients.
Minister Anthony noted that with the right clinical and medical care, more persons can be returned to normalcy.