Skoun Activities supported by MENAHRA

In response to high demands for addiction services in the area, Skoun opened it second treatment center supported by MENAHRA, Drosos Foundation, Global Fund and private donors in Chiyah/ Ein Remmeneh, to provide support and care to drug users living in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

skounBy the end of January 2013, 157 individuals have accessed Skoun services in the Chiyah centre, comprising of 9 female individuals and 148 males. Out of these individuals, 116 reported injecting drug use at the time of intake. 

The outpatients services provided at Skoun Chiyah - free of charge to patients - include:
• Psychological and social support: including Psychiatric assessment and follow up, counseling and psychological testing as well as vocational assistance. On average, 73 counseling sessions are implemented by Skoun psychologists each month to 50 service users who are engaged in their treatment plan.
• Testing for Hepatitis C and B and HIV, hepatitis follow up and medical follow up.
So far, 28% of individuals tested are positive for Hepatitis C and are receiving follow up. One individual has tested positive for Hep B and none for HIV.
• Opiate substitution therapy (a newly legalized treatment in Lebanon that uses buprenorphine to help users stop dependence on opiates like heroin or opium). Skoun continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Governmental Hospitals in regards to prescription and follow up of individuals taking buprenorphine. Out of the 157 individuals that presented to Skoun, 138 were prescribed buprenorphine.
• Legal assistance has been provided to 18 individual, not only to provide legal representation in drug related matters but to also promote recovery and vocational opportunities by assisting with criminal record changes.
• Family support sessions run every two weeks at Skoun where the family of service users or people taking drugs will attend for support and education. This service is funded solely by Menahra.
• Skoun believes in a holistic approach to treatment where alternative therapy and co curricular activities are promoted as well as the usual addiction interventions. Basketball, yoga and computer skills are just some of the activities and trainings offered to service users funded by Menahra.
• The Prevention team is holding sessions for youth in the community center of Chiyah aimed at giving information and correcting misconceptions about drugs.
Interactive techniques are used to share information in a fun and appealing manner, including competitions, sporting activities, discussions and gifts.

Drug users have been identified as a hard to reach population, who do not always feel comfortable accessing drug addiction services.
Therefore Skoun has also commenced its first outreach program in the hope to access these hard to reach individuals within the southern suburbs by walking the streets and providing information, education and an invitation to an open access day where HIV testing, Hepatitis testing, harm reduction materials and education is provided separate to the centre itself. Here people can access the above services without being a Skoun service user, anonymously and safely, and receive information tailored to their individual needs.