Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

New bid to tackle drug addiction launched in line with Year of Tolerance

The chairman of Dubai's Erada Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre says drug addicts should be helped, not punished

Dr Abdulqader Al Khayyat, chairman of Erada, says familis and communities must come together to beat drug addiction. Pawan Singh / The National 
Dr Abdulqader Al Khayyat, chairman of Erada, says familis and communities must come together to beat drug addiction. Pawan Singh / The National 

A new effort to help drug addicts in the UAE get on the road to recovery has been launched in line with the upcoming Year of Tolerance.

Dubai's Erada Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre will spearhead the Masmooh campaign, which aims to educate people about the nature of drug addiction and bolster support networks - including families and the wider community - for those trying to beat their demons.

Dr Abdulqader Al Khayyat, chairman of Erada, said it was vital that drug addiction was treated as a disease not a crime - and that rehabilitation not punishment remains key.

In 2016, amendments to the anti-narcotics law downgraded the use of illegal drugs from a felony to a misdemeanour and allowed a drug user, handed in by their family to police or a rehab centre, to be admitted for treatment rather than face jail and fines.

“The initiative aims to spread positive energy among the families and communities that the recovering addicts belong to by educating them about the best ways to engage with and assist victims of this disease,” said Dr Al Khayyat.

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Read more:

UAE and US to join forces in combating drug addiction in Middle East

Change in UAE drug law prompts influx of patients at Abu Dhabi rehab centre

Drug rehabilitation centre for women to be built in Dubai

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The campaign has a three-pronged strategy to support the recovery of addicts and reintegrate them into society.

The first focuses on changing the family's perception of addiction so that they recognise it as a disease, with the help of specialists in the field

The second strategy focuses on helping the recovering addict become a productive member of society by opening up potential job opportunities.

The third part of the initiative aims to educate the community about drug addiction and promote forgiveness and understanding.

While the Masmooh campaign seeks to reach out to everyone in the UAE, it is particularly targeted at the families of recovering addicts and those who play a significant role in supporting the recovering addict’s rehabilitation, reintegration into society and acceptance in the workplace and other areas of life.

Last September, US officials requested the help of the UAE in combating the rise of drug addiction across the Middle East by sending trained UAE drug addiction counsellors to Sudan, Egypt and Jordan to pass on their skills.

The scheme aims to boost the number of qualified therapists in the wider Gulf region, who can then help to counter the growing issue of substance abuse.

Updated: December 24, 2018 04:36 PM

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