Official wants provision for drug addiction in health plans

The local business community is being urged to give more support to drug addicts.

Marietta Carrington, Director of Human Resource, Communication and Client Development at The Substance Abuse Foundation Inc. warned today that drug addiction was an organizational, family, community and national disease that was getting worse.

Marietta Carrington, Director of human resource, communication and client development at The Substance Abuse Foundation Inc.
Marietta Carrington, Director of human resource, communication and client development at The Substance Abuse Foundation Inc.

And she suggested that corporate health plans should make provision for treatment of the problem.

Addressing a drug addiction sensitization workshop at Verdun House, St John, themed Workplace Addiction and Mental Health: An Employer’s Response, Carrington said while it might be difficult to convince insurance companies to get on board, she believed the proposal was still worthy of serious consideration.

“I know we will have the fight ups with the insurance companies but we had a fight up with them a few years ago with respect to pap smears because they saw that as not necessary as opposed to seeing it as preventative. So if we have to have a fight up with them we are going to have that fight up with them, but health plans, we consider that a part of certainly the conversation we want to have with our colleagues,” she said.

Clinical Director Jacqui Lewis could not say how widespread the problem of addiction was in Barbados, but noted that since Verdun House opened in 2000 it had treated over 8,000 addicts.

Lewis said the aim of today’s seminar, which attracted participation from about six companies, was to help organizations better understand addiction, including what signs to look for in the workplace and how to treat the problem.

During her presentation, clinical supervisor Dr Jerine Griffith outlined the various types of addictions, warning that while addiction of substances such as sugar, alcohol and drugs were commonly known, process addictions, related to video gaming, the Internet, social media and the like, were becoming more prevalent among young people.

Some of the participants at yesterday’s Workplace Addiction and Mental Health: An Employer’s Response workshop.
Some of the participants at yesterday’s Workplace Addiction and Mental Health: An Employer’s Response workshop.

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