Strategy to combat drugs on the anvil in Saudi Arabia


The Shoura’s Security Affairs Committee expressed its concern over increasing drug abuse in the Kingdom.

“The strategy is significant as it aims at combating a dangerous epidemic that threatens security of nations and societies,” said Ahmed ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, assistant secretary-general of the Shoura Council.

Saudi Arabia imposes capital punishment on drug smugglers, traffickers and cultivators as part of its efforts to confront the social menace. It has also signed a number of regional and international treaties and agreements for combating drugs.

International drug barons exploit pilgrims coming for Haj and Umrah to smuggle drugs into the Kingdom. A huge expatriate population, a strong economy and the long, often porous, border are other factors that encouraged illicit drug traders to target the Kingdom.

The government believes that coordination among the ministries of Interior, Education, Health and Social Affairs is essential to fight drugs. According to the Shoura, the number of drug addicts in the Kingdom rose from 109,000 in 2002 to 150,000 in 2005.

A number of Shoura members have urged the government to establish specialized medical centers to treat drug addicts.

“We have to set up specialized hospitals to provide necessary treatment to drug addicts and bring them back to society as useful citizens,” said Shoura member Shuwaish Al-Motairy.

Some members criticized the strategy saying it lacked effective measures to punish drug traffickers.

“Drug addicts must be trained to do various jobs while receiving treatment,” said Abdullah Abumilha, another member. He said many families were unable to control their children after becoming addicts.

An Interior Ministry official who participated in the discussions while drafting the anti-drug strategy said drug traffickers had no connection with terrorist attacks in the Kingdom.

However, the official pointed out that some of the terror suspects arrested or killed in gun battles with security officers were drug addicts.

The strategy has set out six objectives, which includes identifying the types of drugs used in general, its features and reasons, and developing precautionary measures, treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Drugs play a big role in undermining social stability and national security and it targets mainly the country’s manpower. It has been described as more dangerous than the world wars in terms of impact. International drug trade is put at nearly $ 500 billion annually and there are 185 million drug addicts worldwide.


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