New rehab centre to help weed out drug addiction


New rehab centre to help weed out drug addiction

Drug addiction, more often than not, stems from family history, whether it is born from deep-rooted psychological problems or a long-line of abuse in the family, says an expert.


Kelly Clarke

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 20 Jun 2013, 1:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:23 PM

“Addiction does not come out of a void, it usually comes from the family,” he said.

Speaking at a Press conference on Wednesday at the launch of the Community Development Authority’s ‘Ownak’ service — a social rehabilitation centre for recovering drug addicts — CDA’s social care expert Dr Hussain Al Maseeh said the centre will offer a “family orientated solution” to treatment, noting that patients will be dealt with on a “case by case approach.”

According to CDA’s director general Khaled Al Kamda, the new centre will provide aftercare services for UAE nationals – both first-time addicts and long-term abusers – who are at risk of relapsing or abusing psychotropic substances. It is the first of such centres in the UAE focusing on this specific target group.

With children as young as 12 becoming victim to predatory elders intent on hooking them on drugs, he said services at the centre will be available for people of all ages.

“We have seen very young kids struggling with abuse. This is why there is no age limit. Any individual who has a problem can undergo treatment.”

Past projections carried out by the CDA have shown an alarming trend in the number of UAE youngsters abusing drugs, and without intervention, the country could see a steady rise in the number of young people becoming addicted.

This year, there are currently 419 young individuals struggling with drug abuse, but with the current trend, this number could rise by more than a third (33.8 per cent), to 561 by 2022.

In recent years, the Dubai Police and health officials have been moving past the stigma surrounding drug-addiction and are now openly discussing the growing problem, with Dubai moving the farthest among several Arab governments.

But with the ‘Ownak’ service noted as the first-of-its-kind in the country, why has it taken so long to be established?

In 2005, Dubai housed a ‘Rehabilitation and Training Centre’ for drug-addicts, but after only a short time in operation it was transformed into a Women’s and Children’s centre. Al Kamda and Dr Al Maseeh were unable to provide the reason behind its closure, but they stressed there has always been an interest in solving the UAE’s drug problem, adding that CDA are now “leading the social change in Dubai”.

“We are trying to be systemic. We needed information as a benchmark. We didn’t want to start a programme without a full knowledge of what the best approach in dealing with these people was. We are now ready to tackle the problem.”

Road to recovery

To aid recovery, addicts need to go through a three-phase programme — detoxification, rehabilitation and aftercare.

Initially, ‘Ownak’ will provide phases two and three to recovering addicts, but Dr Al Maseeh said if people are in “an active phase of addiction, we will refer them to the medical centre first,” to get rid of all drug residue in the body — a process which can take up to three weeks.

Following detox, Al Maseeh told Khaleej Times relapse-prevention is the biggest hurdle: “You cannot let down your guard as an addict, so relapse prevention always focuses on who, what and where. Who you should not be with, what you should avoid and where you shouldn’t go,” and depending on the individual it can take anything from three to six months to be rehabilitated.

Although the centre itself will not be operational round-the-clock, Al Kamda said requests can be made through the website and service centre 24/7. Programmes on offer at the centre include awareness, relapse prevention, development of psychological and social skills, and periodic follow-up and social care, with family members fully included in the process.

The centre, located in Al Khawaneej, will house six members of staff and is now taking requests for patient enrollment. They plan to expand into a complete centre in the near future, with a view to offer services to expatriates too, he added.

As an extension of the ‘Ownak’ centre, the CDA also launched its ‘Dose of Hope’ programme, which helps rehabilitate inmates at Dubai penitentiary and correctional facilities. —

More news from