Cheap drugs mostly attract 15-22 years old, trigger ‘violent crime’

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 27 : Rampant drug abuse among youngsters in Kuwait is posing a perilous threat to society, giving way to growing national pleas for stiffer legislation to prevent a further slip into moral decadence. Given the detrimental effects drug abuse has on society and the national economy alike, concerned bodies in Kuwait have ratcheted up efforts to clamp down on the scourge, which include enacting tougher drug prohibition laws to penalize traffickers who often prey upon vulnerable youth. According to a local drug abuse prevention center called “Bashayer Al-Khair,” which preaches Islamic teachings to fight addiction, the 15-22 year old cohort has been identified as the group most at risk of developing drug-related problems.

Citing the widespread availability of “cheap drugs,” as the trigger behind a recent surge in violent crime, the center’s chief, Sheikh Dr. Abdulhamid Al-Ballali pinpointed the drug methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “Shabu” as the most pervasive. He placed a sizable share of the onus on the parents of drug addicts, saying “neglect” and “peer pressure” are one of the most primary causes of drug abuse in Kuwait, urging parents to shoulder the “moral and legal” responsibility to prevent its spread.

According to Justice Ministry’s data, there are some 6,000 drug-related cases in Kuwaiti courts, 50 percent of which involve Kuwaitis, running the gamut from manufacturing to the trafficking and seizure of illegal substances. Based on these grim statistics, Kuwaiti state bodies and non-governmental organizations have pledged to take a stand against all forms of drug abuse, using everything at their disposal to eradicate such nefarious activities.

A number of heads of sports federations and clubs in Kuwait agreed that regularly practicing sports for youth could help improve their social behavior, especially avoiding drugs. In separate statements to KUNA on Tuesday, the officials noted that sports give confidence to practitioners and encourage a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally, as well as boost a person’s mood. In this context, head of Kuwait Weight Lifting Federation Talal Al- Jassar said that practicing weight lifting or other sports in public clubs and national teams differ from practicing in private clubs, as youth in national teams are fully aware of the risks of using steroids and other drugs. Using any type of performance enhancing drugs could lead the athlete to a long-term suspension from taking part in tournaments, or could sometimes become a permanent suspension, he added. The federation is continuously cooperating with Kuwait Anti-Doping Agency to test athletes in all local and international tournaments, he said.

On his part, head of Kuwait Winter Games Club Fuhaid Al-Ajmi affirmed that the long time spent by players in exercising and playing games in different sports help avoiding the use of drugs, as the main factor for drug-use is the big amount of free time for both genders.

Meanwhile, head of Kuwait Basketball Association Rushaid Al-Anezi said that all sports federations are committed to protect their players against the dangers of drugs. He called on officials to spread awareness among youth, sport crews and society on the risks of using steroids. Engaging in sports develops a well-behaved personality that respects laws in children and teenagers, a characteristic that can protect against using drugs, he added.

In 2005, Kuwait Public Authority for Sport joined the Copenhagen Declaration, under the World Anti-Doping Agency, signed during the second World Conference on Doping in Sport in 2003. This was followed by establishing the Kuwait Anti-Doping Agency. (KUNA)

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