PRESS RELEASE – PARTICIPANTS from a cross-section of agencies recently completed a high-level certification programme endorsed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to help combat the impact of drugs and violence in homes, communities and the wider society. Participants can now utilize their newly-acquired skills, tools and techniques to help prevent, treat and rehabilitate persons affected by drugs and violence.
The Substance Abuse Advisory Secretariat, on Thursday last, hosted a graduation ceremony for the first cohort 33 graduates of a new certification programme dubbed “Proccer”.
Deputy Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Advisory Secretariat, Joanna Joseph, explained the benefits of this programme.
“Proccer is a Spanish acronym, which stands for the Caribbean Training and Certification Programme for Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation. So this was really capacity building training to improve competencies of persons who already work in the areas pertaining to drug prevention, violence prevention and drug rehabilitation and treatment.”
Participants came from a cross-section of agencies, including Ministries of Health and Education, Probation and Parole, Human Services, School Counselors, the Bordelais Correctional Facility as well as treatment and wellness centres. Joseph outlined the rationale for selecting these participants.
“We can understand that these are the agencies which have to work daily with the persons who are affected by drugs and probably by violence as well. And, we know that this is a scourge in our society and we really wanted to be able to improve the capacity of the persons who work in these areas to deliver more effective programmes so that we can begin to see a turnaround in our society,” said Joseph.
The intensive four-month-long programme was sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), via the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). The Deputy Coordinator was extremely pleased with the performance of the graduates, many of whom received high A’s and B’s.
“The University of the West Indies was the agency which certified the programme, supervised, invigilated, produced the materials; so this is of very high quality. And, the certification also is a prestigious one and we are very happy for the number of students who completed (the programme) and have received this important certification.”
Tessa John-Guerra was the top performer for the Proccer treatment and rehabilitation certification, while Gillian John-Khodra was the top achiever for the Proccer Prevention certification. They highlighted what this recent training and certification means to them.
Guerra stated, “I feel very, very good. I feel we’ve all worked hard in the treatment training and the information is really invaluable for us, especially in our different professions. So we can now go out there and apply the knowledge that we learned to our situation wherever we are.”
Meanwhile, Khodra said, “I do believe that what we learned through the prevention track really enabled us to be able to go out there and implement solid prevention programmes in our various communities. For me, in particular, my school community where I am realizing that substance use and misuse is becoming predominant among teenagers, and so I think the information which I gathered and I learned and the skills learned will really enable me to impact that particular population.”
Organizers say they have been receiving several requests from people interested in pursuing this programme and are hopeful that the programme will be offered in the near future.