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Saudi charity to help drug addicts’ families
Journalist sets up organization to help discourage ‘wives and children’ of addicts from becoming abusers themselves.
March 17, 2010 6:22 by kippreport
A leading Saudi journalist, Sahar Al-Bandar, has set up a charity called Rahmah (‘tender care’) to care for the families of drug addicts.
“We have 49 founding members including Deputy Minister of Social Affairs Abdullah Al-Yousif, whose membership gives us hope to be recognized and approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs,” said Al-Bandar.
She added that there are many organizations that treat drug addicts, but none to care for their families and that there is a likelihood of the wives and children of drug addicts to also become drug abusers.
Statistics issued by the General Directorate of Narcotic Control indicate that domestic violence increases by 35 percent in families where a member is a drug addict or alcoholic. Such families are also affected financially.
“The General Directorate of Narcotic Control indicate along with the Ministry of Health work on rehabilitating addicts to ensure they do not fall into old habits,” said Al-Bandar, adding that these bodies are under pressure and that wider society needs to do more to help.
“Rahmah aims to rehabilitate the families of addicts by providing them with knowledge and tools to detect addiction in their family and deal with it,” said Al-Bandar.
“We also work on enhancing the self esteem of family members through specialists to protect them from falling into the same trap,” she said, adding that many wives also become addicted to drugs due to the pressures of having to maintain and care for husbands who are addicts.
Al-Bandar mentioned a case in which a father fell back into substance abuse after remaining clean for a few months and that he offered his eight-year-old daughter to a dealer in exchange for drugs.
Poverty is also another reason why some former drug addicts fall back into the habit. This often happens when they sell drugs to earn cash, said Al-Bandar, adding that Rahmah aims to educate families and find jobs for former addicts.
The charity will coordinate with the General Directorate of Narcotic Control and Al-Amal Hospital to reach addicts’ families, said Al-Bandar. “Families could also reach us directly provided that they can prove a member of their family is addicted to drugs and that they are not addicts themselves,” she said.
According to a report by the UN, 150,000 drug users underwent treatment in the Kingdom in 2004.