OASI expresses “great disappointment” on legalisation of recreational cannabis
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For the last 26 years, the OASI Foundation has been serving the country and last Sunday, the Foundation celebrated its OASI Day, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the opening of its premises in Victoria.
The Founder and Director General of the OASI Dun Manwel Cordina, in his address delivered a very animated account of the historical events that led to the creation and development of the OASI Foundation’s Services to Directors, past and present the Minister for Gozo, staff, volunteers, residents and their families and other guests.
He concluded his address by expressing his “great disappointment” in view of the recent news on the “Legalisation of Cannabis for Recreational Use.”
He remarked that, “it is truly frustrating for all those working in this very delicate social field, which regards the health of many of our citizens. It hurts to notice how the matter has been handled by the fora on both sides of the political arena, taking advantage of the electoral pledges!”
As a person continuously facing the dramatic effects of drugs and alcohol abuse, he said it was “a must to expose the foundation’s position on the matter, one that reflects the views of the Board, staff, residents and members of the Foundation including the parents of the OASI clients and the views of other organisations such as Caritas and Sedqa.”
Dun Manwel Cordina continued, “we have seen too many persons who in their pre-teens or early teens started off by smoking nicotine and making use of alcohol (both legal drugs), to end up in a spiral driving headlong into addiction, ruining their lives, that of their families and affecting society at large, was one of his observations. We are well aware of the underlying perception that as long as a person does not make use of heroin, there is no harm done in smoking cannabis or doing a line of cocaine every now and then.”
“We are very aware of the wide use of these substances, in occasions and locations, which up to 10 years ago no one even dreamt of doing such a thing. But rather than legalising the drug, the state should be more caring and proactive to subsidising professionals to study and do research on why we have landed in such a situation,” said Dun Manwel Cordina.
“No organisation working in the addiction field had ever precluded that certain cannabinoids derivatives could be appropriately extracted and produced to treat particular medical conditions. This is already practice in the case of morphine based and opiate derivative treatment,” he said.
Dun Manwel Cordina. stated that “legalisation of cannabis for recreational use is like opening another Pandora’s box amidst other social maladies that we are legally creeping into our already weak social fibre. The proposal for the legalisation of cannabis use for recreational purposes has been promoted on a distorted motivational grounds.”
“It is a shame how such a sensitive subject, which regards the mental, emotional, physical and social health of our children now and in the future, has been construed as if the move towards to legalisation of such a dangerous substance is for the best of our younger generations.”
He pointed out that this trend started way back in 2014 during the discussion leading to the drug law reform with the setting up of the drug court. “We believe this was a step in the right direction, but way back OASI had warned about the danger of the wrong choice of the use of the word “decriminalisation” as regards “depenalisation” and advocated that the wrong designation given to the reform would soon lead to legalisation.”
Dun Manwel Cordina said that “then authorities denied any inference but here we are once again sending out the message that it is ok for a person to do marijuana – in all its forms and modes of ingestion.”
“Society, alias the State, should shoulder the responsibility to protect persons from myriad forms of poverty of which cannabis is one such hazards, and not legalise its use. This sensitive subject should have first been exposed to a social, psychological and physio-biological research on a professional level before ever enterprising to present it for any political or legal consideration. That what I consider betrayal from both sides of the political front,” he said.
Fr. Cordina closed his address by commending parents to be the first to defend their own children’s future.
Besides its sterling work in prevention, the Foundation has excelled with an alternatively, intensive treatment program against drug and alcohol addiction, based on the 12 Steps of AA which although located in Gozo, has helped myriads of individuals coming from mainland Malta.
As part of its social responsibility OASI Foundation has constantly created awareness campaigns through various forms. On the 5th July 2017, together with the Floriana Local Council, Mosta Local Council and Naxxar Local Council will organise a National Conference “Illum Jien, Ghada Int … id-Droga Wara Biebna.”
“The mentality that doing drugs is not harmful and thus can be they can be used for leisure purposes is like an epidemic slowly robbing the pleasures of daily living life on life’s terms.”
The persons attending this conference will be presented with a cross-section of professionals who meet such a mentality and such cohort.
The National Conference will be held at the Community Hall, Mosta Local Council, registration at 9.00am.
For more information, one can view the OASI facebook page: OASI Foundation, send an e mail on email@example.com or call on 2156 3333. Booking is highly recommended.