International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, June 26TH

I talked to Audrey Croes Lacle in honor of the day. Audrey has done the most, in the field of drug and alcohol rehab, on the island. She has been running Stichting Adopt an Addict, for the past twelve years.

During Shelter in Place, the Moko home, Cas Esperanza, had about 9 recovering addicts in residence, and councilor Osiris Frias continued their treatment-program unintimidated by the pandemic. Four more clients who graduated still drop in regularly for learning-sessions but are able to work on the outside, as security guards, having regained control of their lives.

About 12 of the foundation’s clients were, and still are, in the Dominican Republic, undergoing extended treatment at Hogar Crea. Audrey was happy to report that since November last year GOA’s Department of Public Health, and the Department of Social Affairs, have been active partners, helping support the treatment initiative in the DR and helping carry the associated costs.

Audrey says she filed a plan with CEDE Aruba, for the Blessed Village, a small cluster of bungalows, designed to house the double -winners, those who suffer from psychological disorders AND addiction, a save environment where they may live under gentle supervision.

At the moment, she explains, Cas Esperanza can only help active drug addicts and alcoholics, stirring them towards recovery, and clean living.

Clients suffering from addiction and psychological disorders cannot be helped due to the fact that the foundation has no medical staff. The treatment it offers is spiritual, and emotional, clients aren’t medicated, which is often required in cases of schizophrenia, anxiety-, panic- and obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias, depression, bipolar and mood disorders, eating and personality disorders, PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychotic, mental challenges, which could be treated in the future by the medical staff at the ‘Blessed Village,’ on Audrey’s wish list.

We live in an alcohol culture, she says, and the island casinos will be opening shortly, on the 27th, and I worry, she says, people will gamble and go hungry.

In the foreseeable future, she informs, the foundation is expecting more clients, as it will be making efforts to collect addicts off the streets prior to the tourists’ arrival making Oranjestad a safer, more orderly destination.

Former Minister Otmar Oduber awarded the foundation the home in Moko, though the deed hasn’t been passed yet, because the foundation must raise the 6% notary fees, first. I told Audrey we will all help, Awg 10 at a time, to quickly raise that amount, whatever it is, probably around Awg 12.000 – 15.000.

Foundation hotline: 594-2494

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a United Nations International Day against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade. It is observed annually on 26 June, since 1989. The date June 26 is to commemorate Lin Zexu’s dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, ending in June 25 1839just before the First Opium War in China. The observance was instituted by General Assembly Resolution 42/112 of the 7th of December 1987.

Around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30% more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders, according to the latest World Drug Report.

About Cas Esperanza: The home in Moko 28 is a halfway house maintained by Adopt an Addict foundation. The foundation takes drug addicted homeless people off the mainstreet to alleviate the pressure on the merchant community downtown, suffering from frequent break-ins and vandalism. Supported by friends and NGOs, Adopt an Addict forged a partnership with Hogar Crea in Santo Domingo, a rehab facility, where those lucky to been adopted, are sent for treatment, all expenses paid.

Upon their return, clean and serene, they had nowhere to go, so Audrey identified the house in Moko, and set it up as a boarding facility for men in early recovery.

The home provides 24/7 guidance by a resident counselor. Residents cook for themselves and maintain a modest, well-organized home, they garden too, growing corn, beans and papaya.

Conditions are basic, bunk beds, 4 in a room, no air-conditioning, just 2 small windowless bathrooms for more than a dozen adults, but the atmosphere is relaxed and informal, with the assurance that none of the residents will be drinking or drugging today; a huge victory over the insidious, ugly disease of alcoholism.

Government subsidy? No, except since November some collaboration to cover treatment costs. The home paid rent to FCCA, but it will be transferred to the foundation soon, when we raise the funds.

Cas Esperanza welcomes volunteers, individuals who contribute a few hours each week to help with maintenance, companionship or occasional errands.

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June 26, 2020
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