A LETTER FROM HOME
According to the United Nations’ World drug report 2021, “drug use killed almost half a million people in 2019, while drug use disorders resulted in 18 million years of healthy life lost, mostly due to opioids. In 2020, around 275 million people have used drugs, up by 22% from 2010.” The devastating effects of drug use have not been stemmed since last century to date.
Therapeutic communities (TCs) or methadone maintenance therapy are examples of answers to drug addiction problems. TCs aim at the reinsertion into society through the change toward a drug-free life. Overall, around 2,500 facilities using TC-type interventions were identified in 2011 across Europe, of which 708 in Italy.
San Patrignano is an Italian long-term drug recovery residential community, considered among the largest worldwide, spanning 270 hectares, hosting over 26,000 people and converting more than 4,000 years of incarceration into rehabilitation programs since 1978.
These photos are part of an ongoing project launched in 2021 on the rehabilitation, educational and personal development of residents. I usually spend at least two days a month with residents who work in the kennels, one of the activity areas of the community.
At every moment residents face their own limits, fears, frailties.
Sometimes reality is so hard to face that it is necessary to disconnect from the past for a while, trying to find the strength to restart. For the first year, letters represent the only contact with the outside. "Dad reads you" the sister of a resident writes.
There are often human relations to be reconstructed, or, at least, to be understood. The "senior", nearing the end of their journey, try to help the "young" ones to recognize the mechanisms of addiction and get away from the cage of the negative habit. Sharing emotions is the key.
It is a hard, deep and long fight with unpredictable ending.