Treating drug addicts costs Kingdom SR 3.6 bn

Treating drug addicts costs Kingdom SR 3.6 bn
Updated 24 July 2012

Treating drug addicts costs Kingdom SR 3.6 bn

Treating drug addicts costs Kingdom SR 3.6 bn

The Kingdom spent more than SR 3.6 billion treating around 150,000 narcotic addicts annually, according to a study by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Center of Information, Research and Studies.
The study reviewed the negative impact of narcotics on the national economy in addition to losses in productivity and manpower.
The study also revealed that in 2000 the Kingdom confiscated more than 254.8 tons of narcotics smuggled into the country. It pointed out that due to a national crackdown, the amount of confiscated drugs was reduced to 12.3 tons in 2006.
The study, called 'The Role of Social Responsibility in Preventing Narcotics', shed light on the fact that drug-related offenses are becoming one of the major issues the national economy faces as they could threaten the future development of the country.
If the responsibility of treating addicts lies with health care institutes, the study added, preventing drug-related offenses lies with social entities such as individuals, schools, universities, mosques, the media and research centers.
Narcotic addictions, according to the study, cannot be combated individually and although treating them is important, prevention is equally important as it better serves the national economy. The research said treatment and rehabilitation costs are very high.
The benefits from treatment programs are minimal because the majority of addicts are unemployed and only 18 percent of them seek treatment, said the study.
On the other hand, prevention is a more worthwhile route, reflected in the decreasing numbers of confiscated narcotics.
Tackling narcotics, according to the study, is a critical economic issue facing decision-makers due to the devastating impact on production, society and the family. On an international level, the study indicated addiction is becoming a global problem and requires international solidarity in order to tackle it.
There are around 235 million drug addicts in the world, it said. Cannabis is the most popular narcotic with 54 million users, followed by sedatives and alcohol (35.3 million) and hallucinogens (5.4 million).
The study claimed the number of defendants in narcotic cases in the Kingdom in 2005 was 39,600, of which 15,600 are accused of using Captagon.
Almost 80 percent of narcotics cases in 2005, according to the study, were related to drug use rather than smuggling or distribution.
The study also revealed most defendants in narcotic cases were single, aged 20-30 and unemployed.
The study said foreigners involved in drugs offenses are more likely to be accused of smuggling and distribution than narcotics abuse.
The paper stressed the important role of civil society institutions in the prevention of drugs-related offenses in order to ease the strain on the economy caused by treating addicts.