Defeating Drugs


San Patrignano
Fabio Ingrosso, via Flickr

Liz Waid and Colin Lowther look at an unusual community in Italy. It helps young people defeat illegal drug use.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

A group of young men are busy making bread. They are learning how to cook many different kinds of food. They laugh and make jokes while they work. Their lives are very different from what they were a short time ago. They are all recovering from drug problems. They have all been addicted to drugs. But now, they are living and working in the San Patrignano drug treatment centre. Today’s Spotlight is on San Patrignano, and their work with drug addicts.

Voice 2 

Eighteen hundred young people live at San Patrignano. They have all promised to stay there for at least three years. They want to learn how to live their lives without using drugs.

Voice 1 

Vincenzo Muccioli started San Patrignano in 1978. The community started in his home in the hills above Rimini, Italy. With a group of friends, he developed a method to rescue these young drug addicts.

Voice 2 

Treatment at San Patrignano has several parts. Vincenzo Muccioli believed that addiction starts as a reaction to bad things in a person’s life - bad experiences, a lack of love, and a bad environment. As a result, he believed that drug addicts need to be surrounded by beauty. They need to be with people who will love them. Drug addicts need to be with people who believe they can change - people who will help them to change.

Voice 1 

For this reason Muccioli designed San Patrignano very carefully. There is beauty everywhere you look. The buildings are all beautiful, and all around the centre there is beautiful country.

Voice 2 

Each drug addict also has to learn to live as part of a very large family. For the first year, they live together in houses for six to eight people. Later, husbands, wives and children can also join the community. Everyone has to share in doing the house work. They also work in teams to cook and serve meals for the whole community. Everyone eats together in a large dining room.

Voice 1 

Being together in this way is all part of the training. Drug addicts often think only of themselves and their own needs. They only think about getting the drugs they need. But at San Patrignano, they must learn how to do things as a group. They have to think about other people.

Voice 2 

Another very important part of the training is to learn how to do a job. There are 57 workshops at the centre. These workshops teach many different skills. For example, some people learn how to make things out of wood, iron or cloth. Other people learn how to train horses or grow crops and care for animals on a farm. Some workshops teach jobs like plumbing - putting water pipes into a building and repairing any pipes that go wrong. In Italy, wine is a very important part of the culture. So San Patrignano also has a vineyard, where they make wine. Experts teach all these skills. When the young addicts leave, they have skills to get jobs. They can live independent lives.

Voice 1 

The methods used at San Patrignano succeed for more than 70 per cent of addicts. Muccioli believed that with the right training and support, these drug addicts could remain drug free for the rest of their lives.

Voice 2 

This success is clear. But some experts do criticize the methods. Vincenzo Muccioli believed in very severe discipline. The community has many rules. And some people believe that the rules are too hard for the drug addicts to follow. Some former members have said that this discipline hurt them physically and emotionally. However, the government has investigated the community many times. It approves the treatment. And San Patrignano has helped many people.

Voice 1 

In 1995, Vincenzo Muccioli died. He was only 61 years old. Many people wondered if San Patrignano could survive without him. Vincenzo’s son Andrea had already joined the community. And he became the leader after Vincenzo’s death.

Voice 2 

Vincenzo’s second son, Giacomo, also became involved. His job is getting financial support for the centre. Drug addicts do not pay anything for their treatment at San Patrignano. Their three or four year stay is completely free.

Voice 1 

The centre does not accept money from the government or from the parents of the young people. Andrea and Giacomo believe that these young people need true love. And love can only be given as a gift. Giving their services completely free has become one of the most important values of the San Patrignano community.

Voice 2 

The necessary money comes from many individuals and companies who believe in the community. They also support the work by supplying equipment and materials for the workshops. Teachers and experts also give their time.

Voice 1 

Finally, about half of the money for the center comes from selling products from the workshops. This includes animal training. And it also includes excellent food and wine. Making these things increases the self-respect of the addicts. It helps them to believe in themselves, and their skills. It shows that they have value in the world.

Voice 2 

The community at San Patrignano does not judge anyone for the harm they may have caused to themselves or to other people in the past. Instead, the community tries to discover the good that each of these young people can do in the future.

Voice 1 

The website for San Patrignano gives some of Vincenzo Muccioli’s words. These words describe how he saw San Patrignano.

Voice 3 

“There are many problems that affect the drug addict. But drug use is the least important. The center of the problem is not drugs. … It is the human person with his fears, and the situations that threaten to pull him in. That is why I do not like to say or hear that this is a community for drug addicts. This is a community for living. It is where you can restart your life after years as a social outsider.”

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Joy Smith. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “Defeating Drugs”.

Voice 2 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Are there places in your community the help drug addicts? What do you think people like this need?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
GelezniyDen
said on July 03, 2011

Hello everybody and good afternoon all people in the beautiful world. I have visited them site and i saw many photos of this center and i think there is a very beautiful place but person who wants leave off use the drugs must has wish and that’s all. And always thanks all authors who worked above that program you do our live better each day.

humble71's avatar
humble71
said on July 09, 2012

It’s good to hear pleasant news about people like Vincenzo Muccioli who gave his life to protect and heal drug addicted people . In that institution people can find love , respect and true friendship with a nice behaviour.  Many people critcize and judge drug addicted people and don’t help them . it’s a great example right now in our selfish time we can find people who bring their time, money , life , possessions to other people that need to feel love and be respected like a son of God.

It’s a nice program , thanks to Joy and Nick by doing this especial and motivated issue.
Regards from Quito, Ecuador,

Augusto Lenin

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on May 13, 2020

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To: spotlight programs
Subject: to answer to the questions below
Wednesday 13, May 2020
São Paulo city SP Brasil

Dear Liz Waid, Colin Lowther, Joy Smith, and nick Mangeolles

first I want to thank for bringing us more one great article. Thank you very much.
Question 1 - Are there places in your community the help drug addicts?
Answer 1 - Yes, there are. Many!
Question 2 - What do you think people like this need?
Answer 2 - Besides community the help drug addicts, they need the family support, the psychologists’ help, and God’s love to leave that bad way life.
Thank you very much
Severino Ramos
Brasil