KUWAIT: Dr Khaled Al- Saeed, Health Minister, said that the ministry is ready and prepared for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kuwait, to be held on Sept 29. He said that medical staff and ambulances have already been assigned for the polling stations. Al-Saeed was speaking on the sidelines of the opening of a symposium on Islamic medicine and its effectiveness in fighting the use of drugs in the society, an event held on Wednesday by the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS). He said that timing of the symposium was appropriate, as it was held at a time when the "society needs to recognize the illegal usage of drugs, so that efforts can be intensified to stop it."

Al-Saeed also commended the efforts carried out by the Ministry of Interior and added that the Ministry of Health was studying the issue of drug usage and was trying to spread awareness about the problem among young people and adults in the country. He said that, "prevention is better than treatment and if we apply internal scrutiny which in most cases is religious scrutiny, it will serve as a strong foundation to combat this problem in our society," adding that "IOMS is a rich source of information on this subject."

Dr Mohammed Al-Jarallah, Head of IOMS, said that the act of criminalizing drugs, served as a strong moral foundation for prohibiting the use of drugs in the society, adding that "the organization must work in cooperation with regional and international agencies to combat this problem." He also highlighted the crucial role played by Islamic forums in confronting the issue of illegal drug usage in the society and said that the IOMS was keen to work with the heads of Islamic countries and relevant Arab and Gulf organizations to put up a joint fight against the problem. Al- Jarallah said that, "the ministries in Kuwait as well as the local institutions play a major role in combatting this problem, especially the security officers," but he urged lawmakers in the National Assembly as well, to bring in stricter laws to fight the issue.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Al-Shatti, Director of Al-Ahmadi Health District, said that the symposium was held as a response to the drug crisis in the country. He said that he hoped Islamic values would help to fight this social evil in the country, adding that the meeting also discussed 12 working papers on the legal, preventive and rehabilitative measures to be taken and reviewed some of the achievements already made by the country, noting that "fighting the illegal use of drugs was a shared responsibility between individuals and institutions." He said that the symposium hoped to use religion to raise awareness and spread knowledge in the society. - KUNA