KETHEA’s (Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals) liaising with the local government at all levels has nearly become the main, if not sole, factor of development for delivering treatment interventions.
Since 2002, when the first, and only, so far National Action Plan for Drug Addiction, was drawn and set in effect, the state has adopted a dubious developmental policy, despite the constantly increasing demand for treatment interventions.
There are two main reasons leading to this outcome: firstly, the conflict between the state funding available and the extent of the development plan, and secondly the public sector’s counter productive, bureaucratic procedures.
So, despite the fact that KETHEA took on almost 80% of the foreseen development in 2002, the annual budget increase was disproportionate to the overall obligations deriving from the National Action Plan.
The bureaucratic inertia: firstly, the time delay (at least three years to approve the necessary intake of new staff in order to support the new services), as well as the indefinite time limit required for the technical works that need to be completed according to the state processes, in order to get the approval for the buildings to accommodate treatment programs. These two main factors make the implementation of the developmental planning impossible.
The first National Action Plan ended in 2006, under these conditions. Since then, the Ministry, proposed three successive Action Plans. In all three cases, KETHEA contributed in an active way to the improvement and promotion of this effort. KETHEA, timely, presented proposals, with a detailed Action Plan (2007-2010), including goals, new units schedule, timetable and a budget. In addition, KETHEA suggested ways to improve the Ministry’s Plans.
Until today the Action Plan in discussion has not yet finalized; consequently, the development of treatment interventions has not yet taken effect, despite the elevated demand from nearly every region in Greece. Furthermore, the budgets of 2007, 2008 and 2009 also have not provided for the necessary funding allowing for a basic development. It is worth noting that none of staffing both the existing programs and the new services, have been approved.
KETHEA, in order to overcome the state of inertia caused by the state policy, which threatens with regression and decline, but most importantly, in order to respond to the urgent demands from various local social agencies, to cover real needs, has adopted a strong policy of close cooperation with all the levels of the local government.
This policy was drawn based on successive approaches so that close collaboration of all local social forces with KETHEA is established, aiming at the creation of therapeutic structures that will serve the needs of the region. The planning includes the following steps:
– Needs’ assessment of the region conducted by KETHEA, in order to create therapeutic structures.
– Engagement of all, if possible, the social institutions of the region and all the levels of the local government in the idea of creating KETHEA units in the region. The acceptance by the local community is a prerequisite for KETHEA, to launch new services in an area.
– The planning of the intervention relevant to that area is made based on the procedure described above.
– This plan is shared with the institutions of the local government and the other social agencies, so as to determine the responsibilities that each party will undertake.
– The agreement usually results in that the local institutions provide the facilities, and technical infrastructure and/or cover part of the operational expenses. KETHEA, on its part, undertakes the administrative and scientific responsibility, the staffing −therapeutic and other staff−, the payroll and on occasion, part of operational expenses.
Usually, the intervention starts with the creation of a counselling centre that is staffed by people from a program operating in a nearby region. This counselling centre focuses on motivating and preparing the users for treatment. The clients are then referred for treatment in another KETHEA residential program. This is the way the shortness of staff is dealt with on a first level, due to the non approval of the demands for new staff.
– Depending on the progress in real terms, the new intervention expands progressively and develops new units until it becomes a fully operating program.
In the way described above, KETHEA managed to overcome the inactivity, caused by the government policies in the field of addictions, not necessarily just towards KETHEA.
Thus, since 2002, KETHEA in collaboration with the local government and social institutions managed to develop twelve (12) new interventions in the following towns: Volos, Patras, Kavala, Alexandroupoli, Komotini, Trikala, Ioannina, Kilkis, Giannitsa, Mitilini, Kalamata, Rafina.
There’s no doubt that the joint effort of KETHEA with the local community to deal with drug addiction is limited, regardless of the importance of the material, as well as the moral support it provides, by facilitating the integration of treatment efforts in the society. It is highly likely that therapeutic interventions will become impossible, if the state does not realise and put in effect the main principle suggesting that any type of development requires the corresponding resources, and if the current practices that hinder the staffing process, supplies’ provision, work assignments and, finally, the premises and the operation of services in the “front line” are not changed.
As we speak, several requests are still pending from the needs assessment conducted in fifteen (15) more towns: Grevena, Kozani, Kastoria, Arta, Messologhi, Leivadia, Korinth, Nafplion, Chalkida, Rhodes, Chania, Lavrio, Paiania, Elefsina, Ilion.
For the Editorial Group