UAE: Family factors, peer influence lead to 95% of drug abuse cases, study reveals

Expert urges parents to build more trust and improve communication with children


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 12 Jul 2022, 5:06 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Jul 2022, 5:29 PM

Ninety-five per cent of drug abuse cases are due to family disintegration or break-ups and bad companions, according to a study conducted by UAE’s National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC).

The study also revealed that 92 per cent of the respondents said that a stable family and a positive friend are among the important pillars on which a young person has to be nurtured so as to become an important and responsible person in the society.

Dr. Hamad Al-Ghafri, former director of the National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) and the newly elected President of the World Society of Addiction Medicine, revealed details of the study during a virtual international symposium which was held recently.

The symposium was organised by Hemaya International Center of the General Department of Narcotics Control at Dubai Police, on the sidelines of the activities of the World Anti-Drug Day 2022, which will last for a month.

Dr. Al Ghafri noted that with the efforts of the NRC in cooperation with other bodies, the number of drug addicts visiting the centre had declined to 47 per cent after receiving treatment, indicating a great achievement in reforms and rehabilitation.

“When a drug addict returns to his family in good health and reformed after receiving treatment, it is such a positive thing. They can be productive for their community and the country,” he said.

Dr. Alaa Al-Khani, Advisor to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stressed that the family is the main entity that protects young people from deviation of all kinds.

Reviewing what she addressed in her academic thesis on “family skills as a preventive tool for drug abuse, Al-Khani indicated that there was no need to improvise programmes that work to prevent drug abuse and other risky behaviours, as international standards for drug prevention are clear.

“What is necessary is to support families with the necessary information required so as to save young people from misbehaviours, as prevention helps in the personal growth of an individual,” she said.

She stressed the importance of strengthening family protection factors, by enhancing communication and trust between them and the adolescent on one hand, and between the authorities concerned with protecting young people and adolescents on the other.

Dr. Wataru Kachino, from the United Nations Department of Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation said adolescence is a tense period for both young people and parents, as this stage of growth brings about sharp physical and mood changes.

“The adolescence period also raises many problems for young people on how they accept physical changes, and the social and environmental changes surrounding them, and how to train them to confront these variables, which will affect the stability and strength of their personality, and their sense of stability in face these problems,” he said.

The expert added that adolescence is also characterized by an overwhelming desire to experiment, especially at the behavioural level in the style and lifestyle of adolescents, their relationship with their friends, and their relationship with the opposite sex.

“The restrictions imposed by the parents on the adolescents brings about the lack of confidence in them, despite their knowledge that they are doing wrong actions, and that their practice has reached the level of danger,” said Dr. Kachino.

He urged parents and families to be smart and careful while dealing the desires of adolescents, so as to protect them from falling easy prey to the traps of weak souls.


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