Based at Fort King George, the centre will provide residential support for those affected by the misuse of alcohol and other drugs. It means that patients will no longer have to travel to Trinidad for treatment.
Manager of the TREC, Garvin Cole indicated that a “trek is a journey that is long and challenging, yet rewarding and exciting at the same time.” He stated that the meaning was true to the establishment of the centre.
“At TREC we are a family and our programme is based on the spiritual principle of man helping man to help himself,” says Cole, who stresses that programme clients will be referred to as residents.
The manager stated that caring for their residents was just a small part of the overall programme. “The success of this programme would be measured by how well we are able to reintegrate our clients into main stream society,” says Cole.
The facility, which should have been commissioned on April 15, aims to “provide the ideal therapeutic environment for the restoration of an individual’s perspective on life.” It offers an opportunity to rebuild the lives of those individuals who wish to take control of their affairs.
The main focus of the programmes is to ensure that the clients are able to return to society after treatment without prejudice. TREC will also create opportunities for individuals to improve their lives.
There are a range of programmes on offer to clients, lasting from six weeks to a year. Residents will be offered individual and group counselling, and will be working with professional counsellors as well as those who have been successfully through the recovery experience.
An advocate for the centre and a recovering drug addict, Fitzberth Phillips states that in the past addicts who were seeking treatment would have to go to Trinidad and many would not return to Tobago.
Philips says there is still a lot of misunderstanding about addiction. “People still think that people who use drugs are bad people. They are not sick people but it is a disease from which there is no known cure and the only way we get rehabilitated is by staying away from it one day at a time,” he says.
“Under the Tobago House of Assembly, they have put their money where their mouth is and they have ensured that Tobagonians don’t have to travel to Trinidad as they used to but they could get help and rehabilitated right here,” adds Phillips.
An aftercare programme will also be run, which aims to minimise the potential for clients to return to their negative lifestyles. Secretary of Division of Health and Social Services, Claudia Groome-Duke says, “After their release from the drug rehabilitation centres, halfway homes serve as a transitional place with the necessary support structure for the eventual re- integration into society.”
The Secretary furthers, “Our approach has been and remains, to address the drug abuse problem holistically with preventative education.”