On International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Her Excellency, Dr. Layla Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at the Department of Community Development, reiterated the department’s steadfast commitment to protecting members of society from the vice of drugs.
Her Excellency, Dr. Layla Al Hyas said: “The department pays keen attention to the important issue of tackling drug abuse and addiction, which is one of the top priorities in DCD’s agenda. The department, in collaboration with various entities in Abu Dhabi, has worked consistently to find solutions to drug use and enable early interventions, in addition to supporting efforts to socially reintegrate rehabilitated people.”
Observed each year on June 26, the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking aims to strengthen the efforts and cooperation needed to build an international community that is free from drugs and ensure individuals are aware of how drugs negatively impact health, social cohesion, and the economy.
Dr. Laila Al Hyas explained that in 2022, the DCD launched an Integrated Strategy to Combat Addiction in Abu Dhabi, through which it seeks to provide mechanisms for the early detection of drug use and intervention to prevent addiction.
The DCD also aims to empower families through the improvement of parenting skills, which are considered a key factor in protecting children from the danger of drug abuse. Having the correct parenting skills contributes to the development of children’s personalities so that they become responsible members of the community and can better withstand societal pressures.
Dr. Laila Al Hyas indicated that according to recent studies, youths and adolescents are among the segments of society that are most at risk of getting involved in drug abuse and addiction. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons, such as poor parenting skills, neglect of the child's emotional needs in early childhood and adolescence, and family problems, in addition to a lack of social and life skills.
Numerous studies also indicate the role of negative peer pressure in increasing the likelihood of people initiating drug use. From this standpoint, DCD’s strategy focuses on providing families, children, and adolescents with the necessary skills to effectively resist peer pressure.
The Integrated Strategy to Combat Addiction focuses on five pillars: 1) limiting drug supply and controlling access to narcotics, 2) strengthening prevention efforts and early intervention through educational campaigns and parent education programs 3) Identification and treatment, including examination, follow-up and referrals and launch of multichannel platforms to raise awareness about drug problems 4) reintegrating recovering individuals into the community 5) introducing enablers that include a code of conduct to ensure confidentiality of patients and development of a legislative framework related to addiction.