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Saudi Arabia

Eshraqah Center — gateway to drug addicts’ rehabilitation

DAMMAM: The Eshraqah Center is playing a major role in rehabilitating drug addicts and there are plans to expand it and also include female addicts.

Established by the Saudi Interior Ministry, the center is represented by the General Directorate of Prisons and aims to help drug addicts among the inmates in their psychological and physical recovery, and overcome any future difficulties to become good citizens.
The center is a permanent residence ward for recovered addicts in the prison, depending on the therapeutic-community philosophy by representing a microcosm of an ideal society in which the inmate learns responsibility, participation and interaction with the rest of the inmates. This is in addition to participating in therapeutic, medical, psychological and social programs.
Salman Al-Awad, chairman of Eshraqah Center’s executive committee, said: “The center was established with the support of the Interior Ministry and Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, to help drug addicts become good citizens, promote their mental health and provide them with self-confidence to form new social relations.”
He said that the center, which is the first of its kind in the Kingdom’s prisons, has achieved remarkable success and there are expansion plans to include female inmates, and also establish it in all the Kingdom’s prisons.
Al-Awad said the duration of treatment is about nine months, which may be increased or decreased depending on the therapists’ decision. It is divided into three phases with three months for each — the first phase focuses on treatment programs, second includes rehabilitation and professional activities and the third focuses on the inmate’s readiness to join mainstream society after release.
According to recent statistics, the number of beneficiaries of the center’s services since its establishment has reached 13 (inmates) in the first phase and 17 in the second phase, the chairman said. The center’s staff conducts psychological and social tests on the inmates before they can access the recovery-seekers ward; in addition, there are unannounced blood analysis tests to check for drugs on an ongoing basis, as the center depends on psychological and social treatment without using drugs.
Al-Awad said the recovered inmate gets a job after completing the treatment, as the General Directorate of Prisons has contracted with supportive institutions, businessmen and companies to hire the center’s inmates directly. The center has so far provided more than 200 jobs for released inmates, he added.

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