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Saudi private sector can now treat drug addicts

Minister of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
RIYADH: Minister of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah has adopted and included drug rehabilitation centers within health services support system in the private sector.
In a statement on Monday, the ministry said the private sector can treat and rehabilitate drug addicts at hospitals specializing in addiction treatment, departments within hospitals, specialized clinics for addiction treatment, or addiction rehabilitation centers, in accordance with rehabilitation and treatment controls for private health care institutions.
The ministry stressed the importance of these establishments to comply with rules and requirements pertaining to buildings and equipment, as well as in treatment stages and medical cadres.
One of the conditions, according to the ministry, is that the location of the facility be appropriate with the provision of public services, transportation and easy access. Establishments also must meet conditions pertaining to building and equipment that take into account patient and employee safety, such as ensuring that no equipment be accessible to patients that they could use to harm themselves or others, as per international and local safety standards.
The ministry also emphasized the need to apply a comprehensive, clear and customary treatment program that has been adopted and approved by the ministry. The program should include detection and diagnosis for addiction patients, as well as provision of comprehensive and integrated medical treatment services by a qualified and diversely specialized medical team.
As per treatment standards, these should include a detoxification stage, basic treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare stages, as well as address other psychological diseases, or behavioral problems associated with addiction.
The treatment program should also look at family or social problems that contribute to addiction. Appropriate programs should be created to prevent relapse, including the involvement of family in the treatment program.
The ministry also stressed the importance of maintaining patient confidentiality. All patient files should be secured electronically. The supervisor of the establishment should be a specialized Saudi national (a doctor or specialist in health care administration) with preferable experience in addition treatment, the ministry said.
The treatment team should be headed by a consultant physician in psychiatry specializing in addiction treatment, while the treatment team at the establishment should include specialists in clinical psychology, addiction treatment, public health, nursing, therapy, sports training and religious guidance. A doctor of internal medicine should also be present to deal with any diseases or problems resulting from addiction.

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