Kuwait has 7,750 drug ad­dicts: Con­sul­tant

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Faten Omar

The Kuwait Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion held a sem­i­nar ti­tled ‘We Have an Ad­dict in our House’ on Tues­day, pre­sented by ad­dic­tion treat­ment con­sul­tants Mona Al-Yatama and Ghan­ima Karam. The ses­sion was mod­er­ated by lawyer Dana Al-Rasheed.

Karam spoke about how to spot drug ad­dic­tion signs and symp­toms. “Due to the fact that most in­di­vid­u­als will not freely ad­mit that they have a drug ad­dic­tion prob­lem, it falls upon fam­ily and friends to help that per­son get the pro­fes­sional drug re­hab treat­ment they need to turn their lives around. But in or­der to do this, loved ones must be able to as­cer­tain whether or not the per­son in ques­tion even has a drug ad­dic­tion at all,” she said.

Al­though ev­ery drug ad­dic­tion is dif­fer­ent, there are a num­ber of clas­sic signs and symp­toms that oc­cur across al­most all dif­fer­ent types of sub­stance abuse and de­pen­dency, in­clud­ing a sud­den loss of in­ter­est in fam­ily and friends, loss of in­ter­est in hob­bies and ac­tiv­i­ties once found ful­fill­ing, blood­shot eyes or di­lated pupils, ir­ri­tabil­ity and sud­den mood swings. Karam said ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial 2016 sta­tis­tics, there are 7,750 ad­dicts in Kuwait and the num­ber is in­creas­ing. “The ad­dicts may have liver dam­age or AIDS. Fam­ily mem­bers are of­ten well placed to help peo­ple make safer choices about drugs and to con­tact sup­port ser­vices for fur­ther help,” she said.

Yatama noted that it is im­por­tant that the peo­ple around a per­son who uses drugs share their knowl­edge about the sit­u­a­tion so that a con­sis­tent ap­proach can be adopted. Con­sen­sus is vi­tal - its ab­sence can en­able the per­son us­ing drugs to take ad­van­tage of the peo­ple around them. She spoke about the com­mon mis­takes in drug treat­ment. “There are many mis­takes fam­i­lies do when they dis­cover that their chil­dren are ad­dicted,” she said.

“There are some fam­i­lies who hold their chil­dren against their will in the house for days to make them quit, which is wrong, since they need clin­i­cal ad­dic­tion treat­ment,” Yatama said. She pointed out that fam­i­lies some­times force ad­dicts to abuse drugs or drink al­co­hol in­side the house rather than out­side. “There are par­ents who give their chil­dren anti-drugs pills, which re­duce the ef­fects of the drugs, but they will cre­ate a big­ger prob­lem. The ad­dict may over­dose, and he is now ad­dicted to the drugs as well as the pills,” she said.

KUWAIT: Lawyer Dana Al-Rasheed (cen­ter) speaks dur­ing the sem­i­nar as con­sul­tants Ghan­ima Karam (right) and Mona Al-Yatama look on. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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