Fighting the stigma of drug use through art

Members of a Greek drug addiction program have created an art gallery at a primary school in Athens, breaking the stereotypes of drug use.

Dialekti Angeli
Dialekti Angeli NewsMavens, Greece
Fighting the stigma of drug use through art - NewsMavens
ΚΕΘΕΑ ΝΟΣΤΟΣ, Facebook

Why this story matters:

A visual intervention by the members of KETHEA NOSTOS (Center for the Treatment of Drug-Addicted Individuals) therapeutic program has transformed the oldest school in Perama into an alternative art gallery.

The artworks capture images related to the prevention of bullying and violent behavior, respect for diversity, addiction prevention and team spirit. The main goal of this artistic intervention is to bolster the social reintegration of the KETHEA NOSTOS members and, of course, to embellish the school and the neighborhood.

About 40-45 members of KETHEA NOSTOS, ex-drug addicts who are now in the process of social reintegration, six members of the treatment program's staff and three visual arts experts worked together. Each of them attributed their own meaning to the art works. Several are parents and they were also very aware of the effect of their work, bearing in mind that the building was a school for children.

KETHEA often uses art as a bridge to connect the local community with members of its therapeutic community, in order to combat stigma and marginalization.

The choice of this particular school was not accidental. The area of Perama is known for the very high unemployment rates that have devastated the local population and contributed to the resurging of the Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi organization, whose criminal actions are known in the wider region.

The action is expected to have a multiplier effect, since the 1st Primary School in Perama participates in the European program ERASMUS and will thus become more widely known to pupils and teachers from other European countries.

Details from the story:

  • KETHEA NOSTOS has implemented similar interventions in the past, seeking to reinforce the social reintegration of its members and to network among the local community.
  • KETHEA systematically uses art in the treatment of addictions. Theatrical performances, concerts, exhibitions and magazine editions, in addition to informing, those actions sensitize and connect society with addicted people.
  • Upon the completion of the project, a central event in the school area is planned, with all the involved members of KETHEA NOSTOS, representatives of local government as well as local community associations and local residents.
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