Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oman's drug problem - action at last

I first came to Oman in 1995 and even back then I found the drugs problem amongst young men to be frightening. There was no awareness of the dangers and problems drugs cause and the attitude of these young guys was to "have a good time" and not think about tomorrrow. I saw several friends of mine be systematically destroyed by drugs to the point where they could not cope any longer. Two of my friends died. There was no support system for people addicted to drugs. They became "outsiders" in society.

I've just read in the latest edition of The Week that the drug problem in Oman is finally being addressed (Issue 487 - Cover Story) by the proposed provision of 50 beds at an Amerat detoxification clinic and the conversion of a section of Ibn Sina Hospital into a rehabilitation centre. A good start, but not enough. The drugs problem in Oman is large. Unemployment, boredom, a feeling of not achieveing anything all contribute to young guys (and, most likely, women) falling into a drugs habit which they cannot get out of. The ROP response to drugs trafficking, focussing on high profile cases but not having a comprehensive approach, does not help either. But at least this is a start.

Perhaps the next step would be for the Omani Government to fully recognise the HIV problem they have on their hands and tackle this with some seriousness.


Anonymous said...

I was glad to read the article yesterday on the week, finally some action is taken against drugs. I dont know why do people in Oman dont want to talk, discuss or even admit that we have significant number of drug users in Oman. They shut me donwn whenever I talk about it. It hurts to hear that a 15 years old boy died of drug overdose. I lost a close friend as well.
By the way, love your blog, keep on posting.

Ray R. said...

The drug problem is trying to be addressed in Oman.
I have lived here for some 39 years and have tried to help many a young Omani person to beat the heroin habit.
I have spent thousands of Omani Rials in private treatment for some of these young men. Some have died on the way from drug overdose. I am currently trying to detox a young 20 year old youth who has been an addict for 7 years. We get him clean for some months and then due to his village environment he is enticed back to the drugs, mainly by his his also drug addict father.(Incidentally, his father is the one who made him into an addict.) It is very difficult. I suppose the government are trying to do their best but it is a difficult situation in this truly nice country. Only now are people starting to acknowledge the problem, since it touchs all levels and classes in the country. We must all try to do something positive as we are losing many otherwise good young people.