x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Drugs campaign highlights role of mothers

Police are launching a drug awareness campaign underlining the role of the mother in preventing addiction.

DUBAI // Police are tomorrow launching a drug awareness campaign that underlines the role of the mother in preventing addiction.

The month-long campaign, timed to coincide with Mother's Day celebrations, targets women in malls and union cooperatives and teaches them how to spot addiction in their children. It also urges them to report any offspring who are suffering addiction to police.

"We decided to launch the campaign with a special focus on mothers as they are an important element in fighting drug addiction and if their level of awareness is high they can protect their children from the danger of drugs," said Major General Abdul Al Jaleel Al Mahdi, the head of Dubai Police's anti-narcotic department.

"We have had many cases in the past where the mother used to hide the addiction and refuse to seek help - thinking she was protecting her child from the penalty," said Maj Gen Al Mahdi.

He said he knew of a young man who died of an overdose because his mother refused to seek help. "One of the relatives called the ambulance and asked for help but once it reached the young man the mother refused their help in fear of having her son arrested," he said.

Part of the campaign's mission is to drive home the message that legal action will not be taken against against first time offenders who either report themselves or are reported by family members.

"We want to reach to as many mothers as possible, we are also carrying out seminars in universities so we can reach future mothers," said Dr Juma Al Shamsi, the head of awareness and precaution at the department.

The number of people reporting their addiction and seeking help doubled to 44 last year from 22 in 2010, according to Dubai Police.

Officers will also hold question and answer sessions in the emirate's parks and sports clubs as part of the campaign. They will also target residential areas seen as hot spots.

wissa@thenational.ae