Bahrain mosques to help in war on drugs
Manama, July 1, 2012
Bahrain's fight against drug addiction is being stepped up with plans to use religious centres as a platform to spread awareness of rehabilitation programmes.
Experts hope to use the upcoming holy month of Ramadan as a tool to reach out to as many Bahrainis who want to kick the habit.
The Friendly Addiction People's Society will conduct seminars, workshops and awareness programmes across the country, during which brochures and booklets in Arabic will be distributed to raise awareness about drug abuse.
Society member Mirza Ahmed believes speaking in mosques and community centres would help their campaign as over the years addicts have been shunned by society, which has made it more difficult to treat them.
"Most of the people we counsel are those fighting against heroin and other drug addiction," he said.
"Our plan is to meet religious leaders and request permission so that we can speak about the ill-effects of drug addiction in mosques and community centres. There will be a large number of people praying at worship places during Ramadan and it will be good that our message will reach those who are silent or are still waiting to come out of the chains of drug addiction."
Ahmed said the majority of people attending their activities at their headquarters in Tubli were Bahraini males, with fewer women showing up due to social pressure.
It was a result of stereotypes made by people, especially in the GCC, he said and explained that being labelled a 'drug addict' has been looked down on by society.
"Majority of the workshops or counselling sessions we organise are well attended by Bahraini men," he added. "There are a handful of women who arrive for the lecture but leave the sessions in the middle as they are scared because of society pressure."
The society also plans to target foreigners who seek treatment, and hope to get more English-speaking volunteers as their materials are only delivered in Arabic.
"We have trained 50 Bahrainis, who actively participate in all our activities to assist addicts," said Ahmed. "In addition, there are qualified health care staff present at all our workshops to advise patients."
The society has been registered as a non-governmental organisation with the Social Development Ministry since 2009 and has conducted a wide range of activities in co-operation with the Health Ministry and other government agencies.
It is headed by MP and former Health Ministry National Aids Prevention Committee head Dr Somaya Al Jowder.
According to the latest figures, four people have already died of drug overdose so far this year with 325 people (323 men and two women) being arrested for drug related offences. These include 168 Bahrainis, 120 Gulf nationals, 31 foreigners and six Arabs this year. – TradeArabia News Service