Mus­lim calls give Drugsline a wider re­mit

Jewish coun­selling char­ity ex­pands

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS/ - JC RE­PORTER RED­BRIDGE

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.”

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