x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

New unit opens for recovering addicts

The 48-bed Khalifa Rehabilitation Clinic will offer specialised services for various addictions.

The newly opened Khalifa Rehabilitation Clinic will offer specialised services for various addictions.
The newly opened Khalifa Rehabilitation Clinic will offer specialised services for various addictions.

ABU DHABI // A new rehabilitation centre has opened in the capital to meet a growing demand for the treatment of substance addiction.

The Khalifa Rehabilitation Clinic (KRC), which is operated by the National Rehabilitation Centre, is an inpatient facility with 48 beds and specialised services for various addictions.

The NRC's old facility in the city, which has 28 beds, will continue to operate but will deal mainly with criminally-charged addicts and serve as an outpatient clinic.

The KRC is based in Khalifa City A and will be used temporarily until the centre moves to its new 200-bed unit in Mafraq City in 2014.

"We have opened this facility until then because we had to start providing services to cater for different types of patients," said Dr Hamad Al Ghafri, director general of NRC. "This centre will serve only voluntary patients."

The new clinic is spread out across three villas and incorporates an adolescent unit and a halfway house for the reintegration of recovering addicts into community.

"There will be separate programmes for adults and one tailored for adolescents as well," said Dr Al Ghafri.

Dr Ahmed Yousef Ali, the head of psychiatry for the NRC, said they had seen the number of cases increase by 20 to 30 per cent every year over the past four years.

"There is so much demand that we had to temporarily open this facility before we move to a bigger one," said Dr Ali. "We couldn't operate with just 20 to 30 beds."

The biggest challenge for the centre is recruiting qualified medical staff.

Dr Al Ghafri said they were looking to employ Emirati psychiatrists with specific training in addiction, as well as psychologists and social workers.

NRC has partnered with Kings College in London and UAE University to offer certified training in addiction treatment.

It is also sending a team of three Emiratis to the US to train in the Matrix outpatient model for four weeks, which NRC plans to implement as well.

NRC officials said they are planning at least two more outpatient facilities outside the city, in Al Ain and the eastern area.

aahmed@thenational.ae