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INDIA: Preventing youth substance abuse focus of training

DREAM project holds training to educate staff on substance abuse issues among youth


(MissionNewswire) Bangalore Rural Educational and Development Society (BREADS), located in Bangalore, India, organized a two-day staff training for members of the DREAM (Drug Rehabilitation Education and Mentoring) program. The training enhanced the knowledge of staff on substance use among youth, as well as provided prevention strategies and counseling skills.

The training sessions were facilitated by Dr. Jayant Mahadevan, assistant professor within the department of psychiatry at the Center for Addiction Medicine at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bangalore, and Dr. S. Ubahara Sahayaraj, consultant with the department of psychiatry at Abhaya Hospital, also in Bangalore. They presented an overview of substance use including signs and symptoms, assessment and management of addictions, prevention strategies, and government agencies associated with treatment options.

The second day of the training focused on information, education, and communication materials for training and documentation. DREAM coordinators presented program activities from the past six months, which helped the participants review their work, discuss flaws in implementation and share best practices to help improve their strategies to meet programmatic goals effectively.

The DREAM project, launched in the Indian state of Kerala at the end of 2021, is financed by the German government and will run for 40 months, from November 2021 to February 2025. Project activities will span 10 districts in Kerala and reach 40-50 village councils, 50 schools and 10 colleges in each district. The focus is training and awareness activities aimed at youth about the dangers of drug abuse and digital addiction. The goal is to have a counseling center in every district housed at a Don Bosco institution.

Father Binu Scaria is coordinating the project at the state level and a Salesian priest oversees each district. The Salesian team also has two counselors and a social worker to operate at the ground level. At the launch of the project, Father Jose Koyickal, provincial, said, “Today, the greatest pandemic is drug abuse. We need to join hands with each other and the government to eradicate the pandemic.” He further noted that Salesians are at the forefront working for the well-being of children in vulnerable situations.

Salesian programs in India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.



Don Bosco India – Staff Training Enhances Knowledge on Substance Use and Prevention among Young

BREADS Bangalore

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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