Parents told to monitor children for drug abuse

Updated 01 July 2014

Parents told to monitor children for drug abuse

Parents have been told to monitor the behavior patterns of their adolescent children to prevent them from falling into drug abuse patterns.
The Ministry of Health conveyed this message when it observed the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Sunday. This year’s theme conveyed a message of hope. This is that drug use disorders are preventable and treatable.
The UN General Assembly decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 international conference on drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
An official from the National Center for Media and Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health said parents have a greater role to play in the prevention of drug abuse.
“They should keep track of their children’s movements and they also should know who their children’s friends are,” he said, pointing out that most of the bad habits learned by children are from their friends.
The Ministry of Health has 22 hospitals for mental health and hope complexes scattered across the Kingdom’s regions and governorates and 100 more clinics are available for mental health in general hospitals and specialized facilities. He explained that there are different types of drugs depending on how they are classified. Some of them are classified as per their impact, while others are defined in terms of production or color, in addition to another classification that is based on addiction, whether it is physical or psychological.
Accordingly, there are many types of drugs varying in degrees of effect on the nervous system. They include hashish and marijuana, antipsychotic drugs, stimulant drugs such as cocaine, hallucinogens, such as LSD, inhalants, such as glue, and medical painkillers and sedatives, such as morphine.
Drug abuse has become one of the most critical problems afflicting countries worldwide.
Due to the major impact of drug abuse on the health, social, economic and security domains, all countries have diligently sought to fight such a problem, which has no longer been confined to a definite type of drug, nor has it been related to a certain country or social segment. In addition, new and numerous compounds have appeared to have obviously bad effects on the brain and the nervous system.
Addiction is the result of continuously and heavily using narcotic substances.
After the body develops drug tolerance, it craves for more doses of such drugs to achieve the same effects previously experienced.
With such constantly increasing doses in a short period, both body and mind become so affected that the addict is no longer able to perform his daily duties without such drugs.
If an addict attempts to stop drug abuse, many dangerous physical and psychological symptoms will instantly appear. In such a case, the addict suffers from what is called “withdrawal symptoms,” which may lead either to his death or to continuing addiction to alcohol, drugs, psychotropic drugs or sedative-hypnotics drugs.
Signs of addiction include a sudden change in lifestyle and frequent absence from work or school, significant downgrade in school and deterioration of performance at work,​ absence from home for long periods, especially at night, secretiveness, extreme mood changes, weight loss or gain, changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, a tendency to want to be alone, spending money impulsively and constantly demanding more, becoming angry over trivial reasons and shunning responsibility.
Side effects of drug addiction include change in personality, low job performance, loss of judgment, injury to the immune system, such as the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, viral diseases, such as chronic viral hepatitis, and hormonal disorders, such as infertility and its impact on the process of fertilization.
Reasons for addiction include lack of awareness regarding the dangers of drug abuse, poor religious commitment and inappropriate social upbringing, broken homes, poverty, ignorance and illiteracy, extraordinary wealth, parental negligence toward children, lack of dialogue among family members, bad companionship and unemployment.


Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

Updated 01 October 2020

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

  • It will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools

JEDDAH: Violations of Saudi Arabia’s anti-sexual harassment laws could be punished by “naming and shaming” following a decision by the Kingdom’s Shoura Council to approve a defamation penalty.

The council voted in favor of the penalty during its session on Wednesday after previously rejecting the move in March this year.

Council member Latifah Al-Shaalan said the proposal to include the penalty was sent by the Saudi Cabinet.

Saudi lawyer Njood Al-Qassim said she agrees with the move, adding that it will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools.

“The penalty will be imposed according to a court ruling under the supervision of judges, and according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society,” Al-Qassim told Arab News.

“This will be a deterrent against every harasser and molester,” she said.

Al-Qassim said that legal experts are required to explain the system and its penalties to the public.

“The Public Prosecution has clarified those that may be subject to punishment for harassment crimes, including the perpetrator, instigator and accessory to the crime, the one who agreed with the harasser, malicious report provider, and the person who filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit,” she added.

“The Public Prosecution also confirmed that attempted harassment requires half the penalty prescribed for the crime,” said Al-Qassim.

In May 2018, the Shoura Council and Cabinet approved a measure criminalizing sexual harassment under which offenders will be fined up to SR100,000 ($26,660) and jailed for a maximum of two years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

In the most severe cases, where the victims are children or disabled, for example, violators will face prison terms of up to five years and/or a maximum penalty of SR300,000.

Incidents that have been reported more than once will be subject to the maximum punishment. 

The law seeks to combat harassment crimes, particularly those targeting children under 18 and people with special needs.

Witnesses are also encouraged to report violations and their identities will remain confidential.

The law defines sexual harassment as words or actions that hint at sexuality toward one person from another, or that harms the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way. It takes into account harassment in public areas, workplaces, schools, care centers, orphanages, homes and on social media.

“The legislation aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom which are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations,” a statement from the Shoura Council said.

Council member Eqbal Darandari, who supports the law, said on Twitter that the defamation penalty has proven its effectiveness in crimes in which a criminal exploits a person’s trust.

“The defamation of one person is a sufficient deterrent to the rest,” she said.

Social media activist Hanan Abdullah told Arab News the decision “is a great deterrent for every harasser since some fear for their personal and family’s reputation, and won’t be deterred except through fear of defamation.”

The move will protect women from “uneducated people who believe that whoever leaves her house deserves to be attacked and harassed,” she said.

“Anyone who is unhappy with this decision should look at their behavior.”