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MAJORCA will be hosting a world congress on drugs between 13 and 17 April next year. According to Bartomeu Catalá, president of “Proyecto Hombre” in the Balearics, a body dedicated to the prevention and control of drug taking, the event will bring together “the best professionals” recognised in this field. Speaking to journalists after an audience with the leader of the Balearic Government, Jaume Matas, Catalá explained that it will be the first time in history that a location in Spain will be the centre for such a summit which is organised on a different continent every two years by the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities. Following on from the announcement, Catalá also spoke of the problems of tackling the issue of drug abuse because “there are those who have vested interests in encouraging it, and there is plenty of money to promote drug-taking in society as well as to make the taking of selected drugs appear quite respectable”. Related to this point, he gave an example of a publication, a prestigious magazine which had printed the results of a study alerting readers to the dangerous effects of taking marijuana. “Within a few days after the appearance of this article, three separate reports were published saying just the opposite”, he complained. In spite of having to deal with these hurdles, the prevention of drug taking is one of the pivotal points of this non-profit making organisation, declared its president, who pointed out that around 3'000 school children in the Balearics had been tutored during the past year on the dangers of drugs. Specialists acting on behalf of “Proyecto Hombre” made sure that adults were also the target of such awareness-raising campaigns by lecturing at company level. After giving more details of the rehabilitation programme developed by “Proyecto Hombre”, Catalá confirmed a trend which suggests that drug users are opting less and less for heroin but choosing instead other substances such as cocaine or ecstasy tablets. The harmful effects of the latter tend to be witnessed only after a longer period of time. Speaking about the reasons why users of “Proyecto Hombre” take up the rehabilitation programme, he revealed that normally it is for one of two: either because the drug addict has reached “rock bottom” and is aware that he is slowly “destroying himself”, or
Cocaine and ecstacy now more popular than heroin because people who are closest to him in life have reached a stage where they cannot take any more and decide to abandon the addict.
Additionally, the rehabilitation programme is also an option that a court of law may resort to when dealing with young offenders, rather than send them to prison. The president of “Proyecto Hombre” explained to Matas that the programmes for rehabilitation are “not just a case of giving a patient appropriate medical treatment but also of attempting to reintegrate him successfully again into society”. Catalá praised the leader of the Balearic Government for his “kind and helpful” response to the needs of the rehabilitation programme, and for his willingness to give support to the organisation. Apart from welcoming Catalá, Matas also received the Managing Director of the organisation, Joan Miquel Quetglas and the president of the families' association Joan Quetglas.