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Chris Bonnici from the Primary Prevention Team was recently interviewed by Newsbook about OASI's work in the community, the basis of the treatment for addiction offered, and how the pandemic has affected the Foundation and those who seek its help. 

You can watch the interview on Newsbook.

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Here, together, we are issuing this statement as our contribution to the public discussion:

Positive Developments:

  • ESPAD (Sedqa, 2019) indicates that 12% of 15-year-olds said that they have tried cannabis in their lives. This rate has remained stable since 2015. In fact, there has been a slight decrease. This rate is much lower than the European average. This augurs well and indicates that when the policy on the personal use of cannabis was not changed, the rate was maintained.
  • The 2014 Drug Dependence (Treatment not Imprisonment) Act was an effective law and a step forward for persons caught with small quantities for personal use, who now appear before the commissioners for justice and are given a warning or a contravention. Due to the changes in the law there has been a drastic reduction in people being sentenced to prison for personal use unless on a series of other cases. This law has also led to dozens of people with serious drug cases and drug addiction seeking help instead of being sentenced to prison.
  • In Malta there is a wide range and substantial investment by the state and voluntary organizations, on services for drug abusers. These services will be greatly strengthened through the opening of the Tal-Ibwar Therapeutic Center for Adolescents, funded by the Government.
  • Steps have been taken in Malta in the field of medicinal use, through which one already has access for the substance if it can be of help to persons in particular conditions.

Read More

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A recent interview with social workers working in the field of addiction, including OASI CE Noel Xerri, focused on the rise in the use of crack cocaine in Malta and its effects.  The interview also looked into how people report starting to use cocaine, and the differences between the use and effects of cocaine powder and crack cocaine.

Press Coverage:

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The OASI Foundation is committed to working towards reducing our carbon footprint, in line with our guiding principles of healthy living for the betterment of society.  We are happy to report that, through ERDF funding, a number of solar panels have been installed at the OASI premises, allowing us to offset the power we utilize from the national grid.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all persons involved in this project.

 

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During an official visit to Gozo, the President of Malta, Dr. George Vella, and his wife, Mrs. Miriam Vella, visited the OASI Center to meet with residents and staff.  The President had words of encouragement for those doing the residential program, and thanked them for sharing their experiences with him.

 

Press Coverage:

 

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In parenting, when the parents are overly authoritative or protective, it is likely that the result will have the opposite effect. Very often, the result of such parenting would be that the child builds an attitude and a reaction that can lead to all sorts of things that can go totally against the parents’ expectations and wishes. Therefore, parental emotions should always be linked to good judgement and values. Parents need to be clear when they express themselves and show their affection in a way that children understand them well and do not misinterpret them.

Parents should be confident and sure of their decisions, as it may happen that they pass on this same insecure feeling on to their own children without being aware of doing so. This sense of insecurity in children will surely contribute in making wrong choices in their future.

Excessive ambition in parents also creates tension in a family environment; tension that creates unnecessary stress and often pose a great threat on the health and unity of the family. In a family environment where such tensions exist, children find it difficult to make good decisions which can help them find balance in their life. It is a fact that in every family there will be incidents that will make every parent feel a little angry, but parents should never exaggerate in their reactions. Contrary to this, they should not ignore these incidents and act as if nothing had happened.

Parents should always be responsible for their actions despite the tension created around them. Sometimes children become aggressive towards their parents. Some children are capable of using the threat ‘weapon’ which frightens some parents, who will in turn go back on their own decisions when they should not have done so. But when parents are convincing and remain adamant about the way decisions have been taken, this usually does not happen.

It is important for parents to understand that, when it comes to taking a decision about an important choice in their lives, children always keep in mind how their parents might react to the news or to the action already taken. It is therefore very important that from a very early age, parents should, with love, wisdom and great patience, clearly explain to their children the values ​of life ​and the limits which are expected from them. For children to grow healthy, mentally strong and mature, they need clear and consistent guidelines from their early years and throughout their upbringing.

Good parenting must lead to the building of a strong character, a character which when on its own, reasons in a way that one must not simply act in the same way as others are doing without first evaluating if it is right or safe for oneself to do so. Also, a sound upbringing is built on certain values ​​that teach us about denying and sacrificing ourselves from what we might want at the moment. There are many material things in the world that we would want, but not everything that exists can be good for us, at least not necessarily when, where and when we want.

These are just a few tips on good parenting. The list is however never-ending. When one choses to create a family, one must also understand that, first and foremost, one needs to take full responsibility for one’s own decisions - to be a good parent, to acknowledge what one wants and appreciate one’s own life but most of all, understands the reason why the decision of bringing children into the world was taken. We must understand that children are the result of a decision taken by the parents, as well as that of the society created or otherwise tolerated by the parents themselves.

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Daily life has developed in such a way that one is finding oneself in stressful situations that are threatening to one’s health. The causes can be many and also vary, and sometimes complicated as well. Hereunder we will mention some of these causes.

When you feel unaccepted - One of the most common causes is when one feels unaccepted. This applies to spouses, children, neighbours, relatives, friends and all kinds of relationships, which in order to continue growing and flourishing after their beginning, require constant attention. Today's fast-paced life can lead to not finding enough time for others close to us.

When you overwhelm yourself in an exaggerated way - Some people overdo it in certain routines or lifestyles. One may lose all sense of balance in his life plan with long and exaggerated hours of work that often result in insomnia and lack of rest.

Children are under heavy pressure as regards to studying as if their development depends only on long hours of study and the number of private lessons they attend. Women also oppress themselves when they go on certain diets to maintain their figure. It is very harmful when one goes on a strict diet without the advice and supervision of a doctor specializing in healthy diets.

When you feel you cannot keep up or cope - Sometimes we fall into our own trap when we ask too much of ourselves or when we aim for something bigger than we can ever bear or carry. It happens that one forces oneself to catch up and so as not to be left behind. Since perhaps the goal is too great, after some time one begins to feel frustrated and incapable.

Lack of self-care - Some people will never get fed up, never stop and are not aware that happiness it is not how much you work and strive, but how one uses one’s abilities that would have worked well to be happy and relaxed. Working hard to make money in the short term is stressful and leads to a lack of attention to personal health. What is the use of money and material possessions when one self-inflicts illnesses?

Lack of proper communication - One needs to communicate constantly with others. Moreover, when one speaks to others, one finds this as relieving of tension and thoughts that are burdening one’s mind and spirit.

When you think of controlling others - Some people think that nothing happens without their input or that everyone is of lesser intelligence. They think they know everything and want to know everything. While people like these do a lot of harm around them, they themselves become victims of stress when they realize, with great disappointment, that it is really impossible to control everyone and everything that happens around them.

Loveless sex - When sex is not or is no longer a tender expression of love then every sexual act becomes mechanical and is often another way of violence or manipulation of others. This creates tension in the person who is feeling used during the moment.

Work not properly catered for the employee - Another cause of tension and stress is work. If the work is not dear to the heart of the employee, then work becomes physical punishment and mental stress. Because work consist of regular and routine tasks, great harm can be done to the employee when work does not match the particular expectations and abilities of the individual.

These and similar situations, create stress and impatience towards those around us, especially on family members. Therefore, in our fast-paced daily routine, we should not allow stress to get the best of us but we should get used to:

  • planning well the time needed when handling situations
  • keeping a balance between work and leisure
  • self-respect and self-love and others
  • reasoning out intelligently while being aware of our own emotions and those of others
  • not taking ourselves too seriously but looking at ourselves with a sense of humour
  • checking that our children in school will be assessed with an aptitude test to help them become aware of their skills and abilities to help them decide which employment suits their skills and abilities
  • urging our children to follow our pursuit of good values
  • discipline does not mean force - working or acting against the will of the individual is worse than slavery, and certainly causes stress

Being careless can be very dangerous and can become one’s norm in attitude and expression. Therefore, we must be aware of the cause that is causing us stress. Several natural remedies can help relieve stress:

  • Time in the countryside or near the sea helps us to relax
  • If overwork is the cause of stress, it is good to ask someone to help us
  • We do not overload ourselves with work that we will not be able to keep up with
  • We practice regular rest

When you feel very angry, talk to someone you know who can understand you and whom you trust before you act out of anger. When you find yourself in a situation where you have no control over yourself, search for peace within yourself.

If we are not able to reduce stress on our own, we should seek the help of a psychologist or the family doctor.

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The OASI Foundation would like to thank the Malta Football Association for their kind donation through the Football for Life initiative.  

This program distributes a number of donations to NGOs working with people in need in different sectors each year, with OASI being one of this year's chosen recipients.

OASI is in agreement with the MFA that participation in sports such as football can have a positive impact not just on the individual, but on society as a whole, and we look forward to collaborating with the MFA on future events.

Press Coverage

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While spending time “online” can be very productive, in certain social areas, uncontrolled use of the internet can disrupt many ordinary and serene tasks in everyday life: family, study, work and even personal relationships. If you want to take care of your health you need to be aware of the signs, symptoms and consequences of Internet / Computer Addiction and thus find a balance between your life “online” and your duties “offline” before it is too late.

The proper and the incorrect use of the Internet:

The internet is instant access to information and entertainment not only from the office desk computer but anywhere and anytime via mobiles and other electronic devices.

It is the individual who determines the time spent using the computer or on the internet and whether the time spent was fruitful or not. Each person has various reasons for using the internet. People make use of this technology for productivity and efficiency at work and can also be used to maintain frequent visual contact with relatives and friends near and far.

But internet is only good when used in moderation. When all control of time and reasons of its use is lost, the internet easily becomes a problem because little by little it starts taking up a lot of your personal time which is supposed to be given to other obligations and duties. This happens when a person's attitude towards internet access becomes so repetitive and compulsive that the same person who finds it difficult to let go of the electronic device, even when to eat, talk, go out with friends or family and also to sleep.

So, when one starts to feel more comfortable relating to someone online rather than in person, when one is reluctant to stop playing online or ends up checking the social media constantly, then one is more likely to become, if not already, addicted to social media use or online gaming.

Internet Addiction Disorder

Internet Addiction Disorder is a condition that leads a person to lose control of the mental and emotional ability to stop what one is doing or watching. There are various types of problems related to obsessive and uncontrolled use of the computer and the internet and they come in various and specific names:

  • Information Overload - Excessive and continuous searching on the web or database leading to loss in work productivity and complications when interacting with family and friends.
  • Computer Addiction – Excessive playing of “offline” games such as Solitaire and Minesweeper and other modern games played without the need to go “online”.
  • Net Compulsions – such as gaming sites, stock trading and online shopping. Most of the times such excessive use lead to financial problems and unemployment.
  • Cyber Relation Addiction – by use of social networking, chat rooms, texting that lead to virtual relationships becoming more important than the actual family and friends.
  • Cyber Sex Addiction – These are adult sexual fantasy sites. Cyber Relation and Cyber Sex addictions are the most dangerous forms of this disorder as they leave a negative impact on the way the person addicted reacts in real life and in his or her intimate relationship with the partner. Depending on the intensity of the addiction, these will also leave negative long term mental and emotional issues in all parties involved.

How to fall victim of the Internet

Negative circumstances can easily coerce you in finding solutions that will relieve you of the sadness of the moment. The internet coerces some users to use it as a way of relieve from stress, loneliness and anxiety linked to negative personal circumstances. When you go online, it helps you forget those sad, painful feelings and gives you the impression that you have solved any issues you had before you went online. But once your mind registers this sort of escapism from all troubles, whenever you are in a stressful situation, it will automatically click inside you the urge to go online and you become eventually dragged into a vicious circle whenever you find yourself in difficulty.

It is therefore important to understand that there are many healthier and more effective ways to release yourself from moments of sadness. These alternatives include exercise, walking, swimming and all kinds of sports.  Meditation, yoga and any other relaxation technique will also help.

How can one lessen the urge to go online?

Plan well in advance the time you really need to use the internet in your spare time by:

  • making a schedule of when, what time and how long you will use the internet during the day and during the week;
  • writing a list of things or moments that trigger you to go online. List them in large print and stick them where you can see them;
  • looking for a choice of other things and hobbies that you can do or use instead of going online, such as visiting friends, walking in the countryside etc.;
  • rewarding yourself after anything positive you do, not related to internet use for example, after some sports, walking, washing dishes, or clothes or when you finish studying or finishing the last chapter of your favorite book.

What if one doesn’t manage to lessen the urge?

Ultimately, if none of the above helps you lessen the urge of your online addiction, it means that it will be wiser to seek the help of a therapist or other professional guidance since you are not capable to control and reduce this urge on your own.