Dubai: Around 25 Emiratis convicted for substance abuse have been making progress in a 30-day programme that aims to equip them to start a new life, according to the Community Development Authority (CDA).
Called Dose of Hope, the programme aims to rehabilitate former drug-dependent Emiratis who have been admitted to the local penitentiary facilities multiple times.
“It’s about time that we do more than imprison the addicts. I think we are in desperate need of a programme which is not a complex one, yet will really achieve a clear target for the inclusion of those people into the society,” Khalid Al Kamda, CDA Director-General, told Gulf News.
Now in its test phase, the project is conducted in collaboration with the Dubai Narcotics Department. Inmates aged between 20 and 46 years go through a series of group therapy sessions that teach them breathing techniques, among others.
A three-pronged approach is being used to enable the inmates to reintegrate into the society after serving their sentence.
“We try to help those people quit the addiction, help them be accepted by their family, and then work on the society acceptance of those people. And then we will work on a career programme because employment is something that they need,” Al Kamda added.
“What we are focusing on the programme is to give them skills — social skills, life skills, psychological skills — because most of the addiction happens among people who try to avoid pain, psychological, physical, social pain,” said Dr Hussain Ali Maseeh, social care expert at CDA.
“A lot of addiction cases are people who try to escape from life. But when they find that they have the skill and ability to face life, they will not need to rely on any kind of substance,” Dr. Maseeh added.
Ebrahim, 46, who is serving a four-year sentence for substance abuse, welcomed the programme.
“They teach us how we can fix our life and how we can start a new life. They teach us new ways to live without drugs and [in the future] avoid places that I used to go to before.”