Survey reveals setbacks in drug rehabilitation

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By Javid Hassan, Arab News Staff

Published — Friday 18 January 2002

Last Update 18 January 2002 3:00 am

RIYADH, 18 January — A survey of drug addicts in Jeddah has revealed that over 50 percent of drug users are single, unemployed, and drawn from the low-income group. They also lacked high school education.

The survey — undertaken by Dr. Nayyar Iqbal of Al-Amal Hospital in Jeddah — is reported in the latest issue of the Annals of Saudi Medicine. A total of 302 men aged 18 and above were covered by the survey, with half of the subjects hailing from places outside Jeddah, such as Makkah and Taif.

A major finding of the survey is that very few drug users were committed to completing the treatment program. Of the 172 subjects treated for medical detoxification, six percent were back for drug rehabilitation.

From the 95 subjects committed to program completion, only 11.5 percent went through rehabilitation, while the rest requested discharge after detoxification.

The study showed that 119 subjects (68 percent) were using heroin, while 18.28 percent consumed alcohol. The rest were addicted to other substances. The report said 135 subjects (44.71 percent) gave no tangible reasons for seeking treatment. However, family or marital problems were cited as the most common reasons for treatment.

Two-thirds of the subjects were either first or second admissions and one subject had more than four admissions. Most of the subjects reported readmissions within 12 months of discharge, while 57 addicts (30.64 percent) were readmitted within three months.

Sixteen percent of the patients came back within a year and 51 after longer periods. The findings indicated that the rehabilitation program was not as effective as it should be.

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