Muslim calls give Drugsline a wider remit
Jewish counselling charity expands
DRUGSLINE, the Jewish-run support service which has launched the first UK drugs crisis line for the Jewish and Muslim communities, said this week that it has already received an increased number of calls from Muslims.
A spokesperson for the Redbridgebased information and support service, which set up the line as a result of a £115,0000 grant from the London Borough of Redbridge, said it had received calls from Muslims seeking advice and also from those asking for counselling in Punjabi.
The joint initiative follows a Redbridge report, Combating Stigma: Drug use among the Muslim Communities, which revealed that the Jewish and Muslim communities share many of the same cultural taboos about drugs.
As a result of the report, Drugsline’s director, Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, established a partnership with Ilford Muslim religious leader Imam Haroon Rashid Patel; QALB, a local day centre for people with mental-health problems; and the League of British Muslims, which provides advice to local Asian residents.
The spokesperson said that, thanks to the grant, Drugsline would recruit a volunteer co-ordinator and a trainer. The latter is a new post which would allow the organisation to offer daytime training for the first time and would also extend the opening hours for the crisis line. Over the next year, 25 Muslim and Jewish counsellors would be fully trained.
Rabbi Sufrin said: “Drugsline has over 15 years’ experience of dealing with drug- and alcohol-addiction issues and the new partnership not only adds value to our existing work, but will also enable us to provide bespoke services to parts of the community where drugs and alcohol addiction are often taboo, and where little or no support is offered.”
Redbridge Councillor Alan Weinberg, who played a key role in supporting the partnership, told the JC: “This is an exemplary model of what is possible when communities work together, whilst also serving their community in a sensitive and appropriate manner.”