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Drug overdose deaths surge in Bahrain

Manama, May 6, 2014

As many people died from drug overdoses in Bahrain in the first three months of this year as were killed by narcotic abuse in the whole of 2013, a report said.

According to Interior Ministry statistics released yesterday (May 5), seven people fatally overdosed between January and March this year which is the same amount of drug users who died from overdose in the whole of last year.

In 2012, a total of eight people overdosed, meaning that this year is shaping up to be the deadliest in the past three for drug abusers, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Heroin and hashish are the most commonly abused drugs in Bahrain, General Directorate of Criminal Investigation forensic scientist Khalil Ebrahim told the GDN last week, and Health Ministry officials affirmed yesterday that the problem of drug addiction is both serious and on the increase.

Psychiatric Hospital chairman Dr Adel Al Offi disclosed in-patient figures for the Almoayyed Drug Rehabilitation Unit at Salmaniya Medical Complex, which show 173 drug addicts were admitted for treatment last year compared with 153 in 2012 - a 13 per cent increase.

"The unit covers all type of drug addiction and on a weekly basis its outpatient clinic deals with 60 to 80 patients from both genders," said Dr Al Offi.

He added that the unit has a dedicated team including a consultant, five doctors, 33 nurses, a social researcher and a number of former addicts who work together to help current drug abusers.

The GDN reported in August on concerns at the country's main rehabilitation support network - the Addicts Friends Society (AFS) - that a growing number of young people were turning to drugs.

AFS vice-president Ahmed Fadhul said his society was witnessing children as young as 14 starting to use drugs, pressured into it by their peers.

The police revealed yesterday that a total of 271 people, including seven women, were arrested for drugs offences in the first three months of this year, compared to a total of 1,058 for 2013.

Of those arrested this year 106 were Bahrainis, 140 GCC nationals, three non-Gulf Arabs and 22 expatriates.

In 76 cases, narcotics were confiscated inside Bahrain, while 138 shipments were seized on the King Fahd Causeway and 13 others at Bahrain International Airport.

Police also registered one case of drugs being smuggled into Bahrain by sea.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry also announced yesterday that a total of 71 people were arrested for non-drug related crimes between January and March.

Of those arrested, 22 were runaway workers - up from eight last year - and five were beggars, an increase from just one in 2013.

Other cases dealt with in the first three months of the year included 85 related to settling arguments, four arrests for disturbing the peace and 867 cases related to community services.

The figures further showed that the total number of fires registered at the start of the year was 101, compared to 652 in 2013, and three personal thefts were dealt with by the police compared to 24 over the whole of last year.

The number of stolen cars recovered in the three months to March was 31, compared to 50 last year, while 307 traffic violations were committed over the same time period. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Heroin |

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