Along with rehabilitation, San Patrignano is committed to the mission of preventing drug abuse. The community frequently invites students (particularly adolescents and young adults) from all over the world for day-long experiences in an effort to teach youth about drug prevention. Every year, over 6,000 middle and high school students visit the program, whereby they participate in activities and engage in conversation with residents nearing completion of the program. This provides students with increased awareness on problems linked to drug use and facilitates the consideration of others and their experience with drugs. It becomes an opportunity for students to deeply reflect on how the experience of another’s suffering might relate to themselves and their decisions, particularly at a time when they are moving through their own challenges of adolescence/emerging adulthood. In addition to inviting others in, SanPa residents reach out. They house a project called “WeFree”, which consists of drug prevention initiatives carried out across Italy and Europe. Residents lead community events and take the stage at school assemblies to share their testimonies in their recovery. Training workshops are also carried out in order to support teachers, parents, or counselors who hope to take a more active role in supporting those with addiction.
SanPa also offers admission to the residential community as an alternative to prison. Once trial-related matters have been settled, the courts, defendant and SanPa discuss the reasonableness of the individual’s engagement in a TC. SanPa advocates for the individual and holds the commitment to take steps necessary to ensure that the residents are supported in their petitions that are required to avoid imprisonment. If there are criminal cases pending for the individual, SanPa enlists a network of nearly 3,000 lawyers who practice throughout Italy and collaborate with SanPa’s legal office at a negotiated price. Residents are provided consultations, management of their cases, and filing of applications absolutely free of charge.