San Patrignano is the largest drug rehabilitation community in the world, providing free care to those with serious drug abuse problems.
Focus: Drug Rehabilitation, Enterprise Development, Health
Geographic Area of Impact: Italy
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 1,350 (2015)
Annual Budget: US$ 40 million (2015)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 50%
Over the last twenty years, Italy, like other European countries, has experienced an exponential increase in the use of cannabis, synthetic substances, and cocaine. This increase is underestimated by public institutions, the vast majority of which limit their intervention to the distribution of substitutive therapies. These medically prescribed narcotics tend to render the addiction chronic, doing nothing to solve what is essentially a human and educational problem. At San Patrignano, addiction is not considered a chronic and incurable disease to be treated pharmaceutically for an undetermined amount of time. Instead, each person who arrives asking for help is seen as a unique, exceptional individual – full of potential that he needs to rediscover and learn to express.
Innovation and Activities
Today San Patrignano is the largest drug rehabilitation community in the world, welcoming young men and women with drug abuse problems. Since 1978, it has provided over 25,000 people with a home, medical, and legal assistance, as well as the possibility of continuing their studies, attending job training, and being reintegrated into society. Nevertheless, San Patrignano does not accept money from its guests, their families or the government. Of the funds necessary to maintain San Patrignano’s guests, 50% comes from the profits earned through San Patrignano’s goods and services and the other 50% from private donors or companies that believe in the social value of the center. Currently the Community is home to 1,350 people, who eat together each day in the main dining room in a family setting. Recent studies conducted by several major universities show that 72% of those who completed the program at San Patrignano are fully reintegrated into society and remain drug-free and 71% end up working in the field in which they received training at San Patrignano.
Building marketable skills is one of San Patrignano's fundamental goals. Through the years, the community has developed several activities in which the residents can receive high quality training: handmade textiles, leather goods, wrought iron, wine and gourmet foods, dog and cattle breeding and IT and printing workshop, among the others. The resulting products and services are used both internally and sold externally: fully 80% of the food consumed is grown and produced on site. A medical centre with 50 beds specializes in treating the diseases related to drug abuse. San Patrignano’s database is a respected source of scientific data for diseases related to drug addiction. San Patrignano also hosts those convicted of drug-related crimes, giving them the opportunity to follow a rehabilitation and recovery program instead of going to prison. Since 1983 over 3,500 jail years have been replaced by recovery programs in the community, saving the government around US$ 150 million: in one year, (2014) SP substituted 114 years of prison thanks to its work and save 4 million euro for the Italian state.
San Patrignano hosts dozens of events, and also welcome several delegations from many countries every year: NGOs, governmental delegations and scholars come and visit San Patrignano to study the organizational structure and the principles on which the treatment is based, in order to get inspiration for the creation of treatment centres based on the same vision. In addition to the daily visits to the center, a 7-day course has been created to further access to San Patrignano expertise in the field of recovery from addiction for practicioners in the field.
Antonio Boschini lives and works as a volunteer in San Patrignano since 1980. He holds a Degree in General Medicine and Surgery and an Advanced degree in infective diseases, but his activities within the community go far beyond his formal education expertise. He has the responsibility for overseeing and coordinating the therapeutic program and all of the community’s activities, coordinating the members of the social and managing committees.
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