by Dr Susan Mathew
GOA, OCT 22, 2015: A two- day teacher training programme was organised by the Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai in co-ordination with the Konkan Development Services (Odxel) and the Carreno Counselling Centre (DBO) Goa, on October 14, to deal with the problem of substance abuse in schools in Goa.
The programme was held at the Don Bosco School premises, Panjim. Frather Ralin De Souza of Don Bosco Panjim and Father Paul D' Souza, Vice Provincial welcomed the gathering of 70 teachers from various schools across the city.
The Rector, Father Savio Gomes delivered the keynote address. Dr Sunita Shanbhag, retired professor, department of Community Medicine, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai was the chief resource person for programme.
Her sessions covered definition, types, long- term effects of substances on body, signs and symptoms, and the role of teachers in identification and prevention among school children.
Four important areas that could damage a child using drugs were judgment, decision- making, learning memory and behavioural control.
Dr Shanbhag emphasised that teachers were mentors particularly of vulnerable children, hence it was important that teachers empower the children to say `no' to drugs.
She added that overall risk was influenced by factors like genes, gender, ethnicity, but strong protective factors such as a caring family, understanding teachers, effective communication, non- drug using peer groups, strong neighbourhood attachments could reduce the risk of addiction.
Post- lunch there were interactive sessions on de- addiction programmes in Goa that stressed upon the importance of family, community support and realisation among every one that drug abuse was not `his' or `her' problem but `our' problem.
Sessions also included quiz and case analysis, to enable teachers to get a clear understanding on substance abuse and the role of teachers.
A pre and post-workshop evaluation helped gauge the impact of the programme on the teachers. Finally all wee awarded with Participation Certificates.