Despite strict laws forbidding drugs and alcohol in Saudi Arabia, including severe penalties for the import, manufacture, possession, and consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs, there is still widespread use throughout the country.
In the 2006 World Drug Report by the UNODC, it was found that for Saudis aged 15 to 64, an estimated 0.4% used amphetamine-type substances, 0.3% used cannabis, 0.06% used opiates and 0.06% used opioids. Smuggling and home-brewing of alcohol also occurs with occasional discoveries of factories for making alcoholic beverages being reported around the country.
Addiction & Saudi Attitudes
Joseph Braude, a journalist who has spent time extensively travelling and working in the Middle East, notes that countries such as Saudi Arabia are at a more junior stage in acknowledging the problem of addiction. This is because most Arab states ignore the problem instead of focusing on treatment and rehab programs.
This attitude can be seen by the fact that a Ministry of Health spokesperson was quoted as saying that drug abuse is not rampant among Saudis, who are raised in a religious environment. This was despite evidence that over 200,000 individuals were categorised as drug addicts in a recent survey also conducted by the Ministry. Additionally, it was found that rehab was deemed a low priority by many with only 6% of addicts completing their programs.
In addition to scarce treatment, the Saudi Gazette writes that there is also a stigma attached to drug or alcohol abuse and that most never talk about their addiction, even to close family members. Because Islam and Saudi Sharia law forbids these types of substances, the denial system is especially strong among local addicts.
Small Steps forwards in Drug Rehab
In 2011, there were 18 hospitals throughout the Kingdom which catered for those suffering from drug abuse. According to the Ministry of Health, 16 new centres were proposed to be built in various cities across the country including a mental health hospital in Riyadh with facilities to treat patients with drug addictions.
Al-Turaiki, CEO of Saudi Care for Rehabilitation and Health Care also planned on building additional treatment hospitals and referral centres across the Middle East. One, in Riyadh, was to be established in partnership with Brighton Hospital, the second oldest drug and alcohol treatment provider in the USA. At the time of writing however, it is unknown whether this project was successfully carried out.
Rehab Alternatives for Saudis
Experts such as Al-Turaiki have noted the nationwide gap between the needs of addicts for treatment and rehabilitation and the facilities and expertise to deliver it. As such, it’s not unusual for individuals to seek help overseas in countries which have a better level of support and mental health care.
Camino Recovery is an excellent option for Saudis seeking relief from drug or alcohol abuse. We are found in Spain on the Andalusian Coast, a sunny seaside retreat which offers some of the best drug and alcohol rehab in Europe. Receive a tailored rehabilitation plan run by a qualified team of psychiatric and clinical staff by booking into one of our private villas today.
Complete Recovery from Addiction
We will help balance both your body and mind using a holistic approach that combines an extensive range of treatment options. This includes eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, equine assisted psychotherapy, family therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.
We also aim beyond simple addiction, helping patients with triggers such as depression, anxiety and trauma which can often elicit certain addictive habits. In this way, we offer rehab for the long-term, allowing the individual to return to Saudi Arabia without worrying about relapsing once there. Our team will work hard to ensure a sustained recovery for everyone who visits our facilities.
Breaking Free from Drug Abuse
Camino Recovery is located less than an hour’s drive from Malaga Airport. This means we are a 12-hour flight from Riyadh with several routes available including transfers through Beirut, Istanbul, Munich, Paris or Frankfurt. Even with the flight, we are still an affordable recovery option especially with our high level of care and our tailored rehabilitation packages.
Since you will be staying in our overseas villas, there is no need to worry about the stigma attached to drug or alcohol abuse in Saudi Arabia either. Simply tell your family, friends or colleagues you are flying off to tour Spain and head off on your road to a more balanced life. We can then pick you up on arrival at Malaga airport and take you directly to our rehab facilities.