A Case of Emergency by Fabio Tamburini

San Saturnino Onlus Social Cooperative runs various services in the territory of Rome (IT) addressing different kinds of users. Regarding addiction, San Saturnino Cooperative carries out both prevention interventions (through activities in schools and youth centres) and social reintegration interventions. In particular, the mobile unit of the Social Emergency Service (SOS) aims to reach cases of social disadvantage – the elderly, adults with psychiatric discomfort, the homeless, gipsy, minors in a state of abandonment, problem drug users - and to provide support. It also puts into action interventions oriented towards harm reduction and social reintegration.

Recently, the SOS handled the case of M, a non-European 37 year old man, illegally resident in Italy. He has been treated by the Public Drug Treatments Units (SerT) since November 2005, where he went under false personal details. The man suffers from a mood disorder with recurring depressive episodes, heightened by his living conditions. During the consultations, held to provide him with some support, social care workers gathered his personal history. It emerged that M witnessed his father murdering his mother when he was 4 years old, and after that he was placed in an orphanage. Since his adolescence he has presented severe behavioural disorders and he has started to break the law and live on the street.

In November, after being recovered from the street due to lung problems and being put in a night care centre for the homeless, M has gone through a change. Since then, he has been detoxified, he is abstinent and has a, although exploitative, relationship with social service’s workers who look after him. He is working hard to change his lifestyle with the support of the social care network around him. The aim is to promote autonomy by degrees, through working on reintegration. Up to now, M is in psychological treatment and he is working part-time.