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Up to 20,000 drug addicts in Kuwait

KUWAIT: (From left) Faisal Al-Ostath, Head of the Social and Psychological Services at the Education Ministry, Dr Ahmad Al-Shatti from ‘Ghiras,’ and Brig Bader Al-Ghadouri, Director General of the Anti-Drug General Department attend the press conference. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The National Anti-Drug Media Project ‘Ghiras’ launched a three-month awareness campaign ‘My Life is a Trust’ on all local media and most shopping malls. Dr Ahmad Al-Shatti said statistics show there are between 15,000 to 20,000 drug addicts in Kuwait. “The majority of these addicts are young people, which obliges us to cooperate to stop the great loss of lives and to make the community aware to eliminate this dangerous phenomenon. Our campaign supports adults and children face any negativity that may lead to drug addiction or other problems,” he pointed out.

The campaign includes various activities. “To reach all categories of the community, we will use different methods including lectures at schools, institutes and universities, awareness videos that will be broadcast on various satellite channels, cinemas, screens of sports clubs and shopping malls, and competitions on social media,” stressed Shatti.

The results of Ghiras’ previous campaigns were successful. “The achievements of the previous campaigns are comparable with the campaigns in developed countries. These positive results encourage us and the community to continue holding such campaigns, which mainly focus on the awareness aspect, as the security and health aspects are the duty of the ministry of interior and the ministry of health,” he noted.

“Our statistics are based on previous campaigns, which show that 87 percent of parents became more aware about the dangers of drugs and the importance of monitoring their children; 84 percent start spending more time with their families; 81 percent of them realized they should change their way of dealing with their children; 54 percent of kids start advising others to quit smoking; and 93 percent of them learned to avoid bad friends,” highlighted Shatti.

“The campaign also focuses on the material losses of drug addicts and their parents. We encourage them to spend their money on something else other than drugs that may kill them. The campaign also highlights the psychological and social danger to the addict, including isolation. We also provide consultations and advisory services on the proper way of dealing with addicts and the way of treating them in cooperation with the authorities through the hotline, in addition to providing consultation to social workers at schools on dealing with addicts in schools,” he concluded.

Brig Bader Al-Ghadouri, Director General of the Anti-Drug General Department, demanded the national drugs committee should start working again, even if it gets a different name, as it had a great role in fighting drugs of all kinds. Police officers are following a new strategy, according to which all drugs addicts are transferred to the ‘addiction center’, and later to counseling centers so that they avoid relapsing. The interior ministry treated 2,600 addicts in 2017,” he said.

Addiction treatment depends on willpower. “The human body gets rid of drugs in 10 days. But the most important phase is rehabilitation and avoiding relapsing. Quitting drugs depends on the addict himself and not on his family. The department is organizing training courses for families to avoid re-addiction,” said Ghadouri. He called upon the media not to publish wrong information or to exaggerate about simple cases or arrests, as this does not bring any benefits and only spoils the reputation of Kuwait and make the work of police more difficult.

Faisal Al-Ostath, Head of the Social and Psychological Services at the Education Ministry, noted the ministry is working hard to fight drugs, which target the future generation. “The ministry takes immediate action if any case of drug use occurs in a school. We have set a three-year long strategy to make students aware and avoid bad company. And in every intermediate and high school in Kuwait, there is a group of trained students to spread awareness of drug addiction among other students, as they are closer to them due to their similar age. The ministry is cooperating with Ghiras to eliminate drug addiction,” he explained.
By Nawara Fattahova

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