TCI Drug Prevention Unit seeking financial support from the community
By Todeline Defralien, TCSun, Feb 22, 2018
The Turks and Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation, in an effort to build the very first Half Way House in the Turks and Caicos Islands for recovering addicts, is turning to the community for financial support.
As a joint effort between the Drug Prevention Foundation and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, this Half Way House project has been trying to get off the ground since breaking ground in 2016.
The Turks and Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation committee is pleading to the community to help whether by donation of cash, volunteers or by also supporting their annual masquerade ball on April 27th at The Shore Club.
Speaking during a press conference at the Half Way House location on Monday February 19th in Providenciales, Dierin Longmire, President of the Turks and Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation said, “It’s been a long haul. We don’t have a roof yet and we’re looking forward to some more support on getting this up and running. I just want everybody to know that the money is not being squandered and it’s been a lot of hard work put into this. We really would appreciate everybody coming forward and helping us in whatever way that they can help. It’s just the finances right now and getting the materials.”
She added: “We should be able to house up to 25 persons. However, if the need is there, we can always put them in a room with bunk beds. I just want everybody to understand that this is not a free ride. When people come into this house, they will be going to work and this is where we’re going to be looking at the community to find some jobs to get these people back into society. Believe it or not, they have suffered, and as a recovering addict I know this.”
In effort to help these addicts know how to take care of themselves, Longmire stressed that they will be paying rent at the Half Way House. They will be buying their own food/groceries and cooking their own meals and importantly communicating and interact with the other recovering addicts.
“I am really hoping that the people that come in here adhere to getting clean, sober and change their lives; that they want to do something and I’ve always said its one addict helping another without parallel. They need to help each other and they will be going to counseling. They will be going to AA and NA meetings. They will be actively involved in doing these things. They will be detected to know if they’ve been using or not and 9/10 times an addict that really wants to get clean doesn’t want somebody in the household using. I just don’t want everybody to think that this is a free ride for somebody to come out of jail and have a place to live. It’s not going to work like that,” she explained.
Dr. Alicia Malcolm Director for the Department of Mental Health & Substance Dependence stated that last year the Turks and Caicos Islands Government provided $150,000 towards the Half Way House project and the Government is backing this and very supportive of the Half Way House.
She added: “The Ministry of Health is extremely proud of the Drug Prevention Foundation and the work that they have been doing and the work that they continue to do tirelessly throughout the year. We’re sitting here in the Half Way House and we broke ground last year and as you’ve notice we don’t have the roof as yet but we are far underway. This project is designed to assist in the reintegration of drug offenders that are placed on parole by the courts and to serve as an aftercare program for substance abuse clients who have completed in patient services but also need additional support. It is also intended that this facility will serve as a custodial program for alternative sentencing for first time non-violent drug offenders.”
Additionally, Dr. Malcolm noted that this program will increase the client’s ability to function in a socially acceptable manner and to reduce their reliance on criminal behaviour as well as drugs or alcohol and ultimately make their community a much safer place.
Other expected benefits of this project include reduction in recidivism among drug offenders, reduction in the number of drug offenders, reduction in drug related crimes, reduction in the level of poverty associated with loss of income recourses to substance abusers and the maintenance of treatment gains by patients sent abroad to rehab.
The site for this new facility is on South Dock Road, Providenciales and the Half Way House project is 7,500 sq ft.
Caption: From L-R (Dr. Alicia Malcolm, Edith Skippings Vice President Turks & Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation, Dierin Longmire President of Turks & Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation, Thekkan Poulose, Marilyn Robinson Treasurer Turks & Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation, Edna Cunningham and Mr. Charles Garland.