Cocaine most common drug among users in treatment

The overwhelming majority of clients seeking treatment in Malta’s drug rehabilitation centres have cocaine dependency.

Information presented in Parliament yesterday by Social Justice Minister Michael Falzon sheds light on which drugs are most common among the people currently undergoing treatment.

Out of the total number of people participating in one of the treatment programmes in Malta’s rehabilitation centres run by Caritas, Sedqa and OASI, 61 people have cocaine dependency, 28 people are dependent on heroin, 22 people are alcohol dependent, whereas 12 people are habitual users of cannabis.

This means there are more people in treatment for alcohol dependency than for cannabis use. 

Until a few years ago, the prevalent drug among rehabilitation clients was heroin. However in 2019, Caritas, Malta’s Catholic organisation running drug rehabilitation programmes announced that cocaine had exceeded heroin among its rehabilitation clients.

There are more people in treatment for alcohol dependency than for cannabis use. 

At Caritas, there are currently 46 people receiving treatment, 36 male and 10 females. Out of this total, 45% have entered with cocaine issues, while 31% are dependent on heroin. 20% are being assisted for cannabis use.

Caritas also assists hundreds of people on an outpatient basis, as well as relatives of people with substance use disorder.

Oasi Foundation, which is based in Gozo, also offers intervention and treatment services related to drugs, alcohol and gambling addictions. There are currently 66 people attending OASI programmes, out of which, 57 are male and 9 are female.

Out of these, 31 people have cocaine issues, 22 people are alcohol dependent, 6 people are heroin users, whereas only 3 are habitual users of cannabis.

Cocaine exceeded heroin as the most prevalent drug among users seeking treatment.

Figures relating to Aġenzija Sedqa, the agency run by the Foundation for Welfare Services were published a few weeks ago. These show that there are currently 17 people being assisted at the Santa Marija Rehabilitation centre in Luqa. 

Out of these, 9 people are fighting cocaine dependency while 8 are heroin users. None of Sedqa’s clients are cannabis users.

In November, Prime Minister Robert Abela inaugurated Malta’s new world class youth therapeutic centre run by Caritas in Ibwar Siġġiewi, which offers a number of evidence-based programmes, including therapy and education on agribusiness, sports and hospitality, with a special focus on early intervention.

In June last year, Customs Malta seized a record 740kg of cocaine at the Malta Freeport, with an estimated street value of 100 million.

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