KETHEA is launching new services in Thessaloniki, aiming at supporting the most marginalized drug users

KETHEA is launching new services in the city of Thessaloniki, aiming at addressing the problem of addiction which is aggravated by the recession.  The new services will meet major shortcomings in the national service network in Northern Greece and exploit the possibilities offered by the new institutional framework on Drugs (Law 4139/2013) for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts over punishment and incarceration.

The current situation of drug users in Greece is characterized by increased rates of homelessness, more self-destructive behaviors, the worsening of physical and mental health problems, the rapid spread of HIV / AIDS and the emergence of new addictive substances. As the hope for a better life and the motivation for treatment decrease but poverty rises, drug addicts increasingly tend to refrain from taking measures to protect their health. Particularly in the two major urban centers, Athens and Thessaloniki, injecting drug use, needle sharing, poly-drug use and unprotected sex have increased, while new, cheap but highly dangerous substances have been emerging on the local drug scene.

In order to meet the emerging needs and despite drastic cuts in its budget, KETHEA is implementing a new action plan, mainly through private donations and its participation in National Strategic Reference Framework operational programs (NSRF). The new services launched by KETHEA in Thessaloniki, include:

• A Reception and Re-entry Centre for ex-prisoners (KETHEA PROMITHEAS). The Center, in conjunction with the new KETHEA therapeutic community at Diavata Prison, which is soon to be put into operation, will enable more drug users who are involved with the criminal justice system to follow the path of rehabilitation and social inclusion.

An Outreach Program entirely funded by the Stavros Niarchos foundation. The program will operate throughout the city through its mobile unit and will provide crisis intervention services, primary medical care, psychological support and systematic networking with treatment services.

• A new law threshold program, offering safe and substance-free surroundings, where psychological support, primary care medical, food and  personal hygiene facilities will be provided.

• A Multipurpose Psychodiagnostic & Treatment Center, which will provide comprehensive outpatient support to dependent persons with psychiatric disorders and their families. The Centre will also offer counseling and treatment to people addicted to alcohol and their families. This Centre is part of a wider network of Centers created by KETHEA across Greece under the NSRF (OP “Human Resources Development 2007-2013”) .

All these services are located in the new KETHEA premises at 4 Pindou Street, in Thessaloniki.