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Powered by, one of the most popular daily English language newspapers in the United Arab Emirates.

Study takes a close look at addiction

08/16/2009 11:01 PM

Dubai: More than half of drug addicts in Dubai were formerly employed in law enforcement or emergency agencies, a first of its kind study on drug use in the emirate has found.

In a scientific study conducted by the anti-narcotics department of Dubai Police in 2009, Amal Al Fuqaei, a social specialist, presented in a scientific manner the causes, methods, relapses, and the reality of drug addiction in Dubai with a specific emphasis on the growing addiction to medical pills.

It also showed that more than 51 per cent of addicts were previously in law enforcement or other government agencies (residency, police services, civil defence, for example) while 23 per cent were school students. This indicates the seriousness of the situation among law enforcement agencies and students, said Amal.

Addiction to medical drugs and pills is prominent among people between the ages of 21-40. Addiction to these pills is widely increasing among drug users and addicts and it is creating social and family problems, said Amal.
According to her, this study is the first in the Arab world to address the causes in the spreading of medical drugs among drug addicts and the reasons for shifting into this addiction.

The random sampling study picked up 70 individuals, of which 51 were former drug addicts, on routine checks, nine former addicts exempt from routine checks, four addicts convicted on drug addiction in central jail, and six addicts detained in police stations.

Most of those sampled are UAE nationals with 94 per cent being males. The study showed that divorce, the addiction of a family member, death of one of the parents, financial difficulties, the nationality of the mother or the father’s wife were correlated to addiction in more than 62 per cent of cases.

The study revealed that 50 per cent of those sampled earned less than Dh1,000 a month while around 13 per cent of them earned Dh1,000 to Dh3,000 a month.

More than seven per cent did not have any source of income while around 73 per cent were unemployed and their source of income did not cover their basic needs.

The level of illiteracy is correlated with the level of addiction: more than 72 per cent were in school for one to nine years while 27 per cent stayed for 10 to 12 years. More than 75 per cent did not have a school certificate, whereas 23 per cent had a school certificate or college degree.

Financial debt is among the reasons that affect the stability of the family with more than 44 per cent having debts and 71 per cent of them don’t pay their debt payments regularly.

According to this study more than 61 per cent are single while 50 per cent of those divorced blamed drug addiction as the reason for their divorce.

The same study revealed that more than 37 per cent started addiction with hashish, more than 27 per cent started off with heroin. Twenty-four per cent started their addiction using medical pills.

Based on her study, it was revealed that more than 29 per cent of the addicts got their pills with medical prescriptions, while 29 per cent got their medications from pharmacies without prescriptions. The total adds up to more than 58 per cent who got their pills from pharmacies and clinics.

Around 78 per cent of those sampled who went to hospitals and clinics for psychological treatments didn’t have any clear indication for psychological treatment but they were attending for the purpose of getting sedatives, relaxing pills and steroids.

After addiction, more than 80 per cent of them were attending private hospitals and clinics due to the flexibility in getting prescriptions.

Around 6 per cent did that to get sedative drugs while another 24 per cent did it to get drugs under a legal disguise. While those who want to cleanse themselves from addiction by taking these medical pills is around 10 per cent.

More than 60 per cent of them are working on finding an easy and legal way to continue their addiction. Less than 11 per cent are actually seeking these treatments to combat withdrawal symptoms.

More than 90 per cent of the sampled get the medical prescription without undergoing a therapeutic session, treatment or rehabilitation, the study showed.


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