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Angra do Heroísmo ,  March 20, 2019

Rui Luís challenges youth associations to be partners in strategy to control dependencies

The Regional Secretary for Health launched today in Angra do Heroísmo a challenge to youth associations to be partners in the strategy to prevent and control dependencies.
"These associations, through their close contact with young people, can play a crucial role in disseminating the message for prevention and discouragement of risk behaviours at an even earlier age," said Rui Luís, who spoke on the sidelines of the Azores Youth Council.
The Secretary for Health emphasised that the implementation of the Government's strategy to control dependencies on the ground has the merit of involving structures outside the non-governmental entities and the community in general.
"The Forum on Alcohol is a clear example of these synergies as evidenced by the fact that 36 entities have already signed a letter of commitment to work, through their plans, towards the reduction of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems," said the government official.
As for the intersectoral intervention component, there are other agreements established between the Regional Directorate for Prevention and Control of Dependencies and entities such as the Family and Systemic Therapy Centre, Alternativa and Arrisca Associations, the "Casa do Povo" of Santa Bárbara (community centre), the Social and Juvenile Ministry and sports clubs, among other entities.
At this meeting of the Azores Youth Council, Rui Luís also presented the main lines of the strategy to control dependencies and the public measures in progress.
The Regional Government's policy for the prevention and reduction of addictive behaviours and dependencies is based on prevention, discouragement, harm reduction and treatment.
In the context of prevention and discouragement of addictive behaviours, the Government has already implemented more than a dozen programmes and projects that fall within the Action Plan for the Reduction of Alcohol-Related Problems and the Action Plan for Prevention of Tobacco Consumption.
"Our action is focusing on different target audiences. At schools, we are taking action through the "Smoke Free Homes and Cars" programme and the School Health initiative, while the "Path 0" and "Prevention in the Family and the Community" programmes are directed to families. In turn, there is a specific programme ("Giros") focused on youth recreational spaces as well activities involving theatre and sport.
With regard to the treatment component, the Regional Health Secretariat is carrying out drug-free programmes on all islands and opiate substitution programmes through the intervention teams working on Additive Behaviours and Dependencies.
Rui Luís pointed out that, currently, treatment in rehabilitation units is carried out in communities located in Mainland Portugal, adding that this therapy may soon become reality in the Azores with the opening of Solar da Glória; the tender for concession and management is under way.
The Regional Secretary highlighted the efforts undertaken over the last two years in the training of technicians and in the diagnosis of dependencies in the archipelago.
"We had the determination to go further in the identification of the additive behaviours by extending the sample of this study to 12 thousand students. The diagnosis was carried out by a group of researchers from the University of the Azores and we are now waiting for the completion of the second part of this study, which will include proposals for additional measures per territory," said Rui Luís.
The Regional Secretary made the commitment to present the regional study on dependencies to the Azores Youth Council for consideration by its members.
Rui Luís welcome the indicators of latest annual report issued by SICAD (Intervention Service on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies) on the survey conducted on the National Defence Day in 2017. The Region shows positive signs regarding the reduction of substance use among young Azoreans aged 18.
Comparing the responses provided by young people in 2016 and 2017, there is a decline in the prevalence of the use of all psychoactive substances as well as of all illicit substances in the last 12 months.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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