Wed 14 Nov 2018

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Volunteering Team Counters Addiction in Homs in Central Syria

One of the campaigns of Voluntary Drugs Addiction Control Team in the Northern Countryside of Homs – January 2018 (Enab Baladi)

One of the campaigns of Voluntary Drugs Addiction Control Team in the Northern Countryside of Homs – January 2018 (Enab Baladi)

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The Voluntary Addiction Control Team in North Countryside of Homs is distributing pamphlets and raising awareness about the risks of the random consumption of painkillers and drugs, as a step before the construction of a rehabilitation center in the area.  

The team has divided its efforts into two dimensions, one relates to awareness and another is medical, according to what the Team’s Director, Majed al-Rajab, told Enab Baladi, pointing out that the medical office is managed by Doctor Ahmad al-Bairouti, the Head of the Clinics Department in the field hospital of al-Rastan city.

The awareness campaigns began early in 2018, covering various areas in northern Homs; according to al-Rajab, these activities will continue throughout March, pointing out that the number of the volunteers is on the rise, after it started with about 15 male and female participants only, “seeking to build a healthy community, that is clean of drugs.”

The Judicial courts in rural Homs dealt with more than 200 drug addiction cases in the area, in the past a few months, according to the Team’s Director’s estimations, who believes that concern was not shown about this dangerous issue, attributing it to “poverty, ignorance and lack of education.”

The shelling indirectly also played a part in the situation, for the people who had medium and urgent injuries were forced to take heavy painkillers, explaining that “some people, randomly, kept taking these drugs even after leaving the hospital, such as  pills and Tramadol ampoules.”

According to the Team’s Director the operations of painkillers and other drugs exchange, between the northern countryside of Homs and the areas under the regime’s control, are conducted via a few people who market these materials in the “liberated” areas.

Enab Baladi interviewed a number of people in the northern countryside of Homs, during which, Mohammad al-Khalil said that the Team’s idea is fundamental if implemented correctly, pointing out that the presented guidance is “useful,” and the work is unique.

The young interviewee said that he heard of many arrest cases due to painkillers misuse, as he put to words, indicating that the team’s care for these people and its tendency to educate them is “a better language of imprisonment and violence.”

The team functions in cooperation with the Judicial Courts, according to the young man Basel Qadour, who believes that the best move to undertake, if it is to be truly manifested,  is releasing the addicted to offer them care.

The Team is currently seeking to launch a rehabilitation center in the city of al-Rastan to receive all the patients from the northern countryside of Homs and the southern countryside of Hama, in the few upcoming days period, according to the Team’s Administration.

The Team started six month ago, in the shadow of the increasing levels of addiction and drugs misuse in the northern countryside of Homs, as a result of which many people were detained in the courts; the Team’s Administration describes the project as step to cure these people instead of punishing them and to raise the people’s awareness about this epidemic that is destroying society.

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