Dubai: Families with drug addicts must come forward to seek help and not shield them for fear of social stigma, a Dubai Police official said.

Colonel Abdullah Matar Al Khayat, manager of Hemaya International Centre at Dubai Police, said: “Addiction is a worrying problem and all community members need to cooperate in the battle against drugs. Some families don’t seek help from the authorities to deal with addiction problems as they are afraid it will damage their reputation in society.”

He said the family plays a crtical role in protecting children from drug addiction.

“Families should benefit from Article 43 of the Anti-Narcotics Law which exempts drug addicts from legal punishment if they or their families voluntarily seek help from the police,” Col Al Khayat said.

Meanwhile, Dubai Police said more than 250 students from different nationalities in the UAE will be competing to win the Dh100,000 prize in the Hemaya clip contest which aims to educate the public on drug addiction, online bullying and addiction to video games.

About 50 awareness clips have been submitted by students so far.

According to Colonel Khalid Bin Moyazeh, deputy director of the Anti-narcotics Department at Dubai Police, a committee will evaluate the 60-seconds clips to announce the winners later this month.

“We worked with more than 30 universities to divide the students into groups and work together to record the educational videos. We are proud that more than 250 students took part in the contest to record 3,000 seconds of total clips,” Col Bin Moyazeh said.

The 197 male students and 53 female students were required to make clips stressing on the role of the family in protecting children from drug addiction. Students recorded 17 clips about the misuse of painkillers and 10 clips to educate people about blackmail and online bullying.