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Parents' vital role in protecting children from drug dangers

Parents' vital role in protecting children from drug dangers
24 June 2024 22:59

LAMIA AL HARMOUDI (ABU DHABI)

Parents play a crucial role in safeguarding their children and raising awareness about the dangers of drugs. Educating families on effective strategies to shield children from drug use is essential.

Several parents emphasised the importance of awareness and education regarding drugs, types of narcotics, psychoactive substances, indicators, and associated harms. Talal Mahmoud, a concerned parent, highlighted the need for parents to stay informed.

In today's interconnected world, where children have direct access to the Internet and social media platforms, the risk of exposure to addiction or curiosity about forbidden substances is heightened.

Talal emphasised instilling religious motivation, self-monitoring, and conscious supervision. Raising awareness about drug dangers is crucial for both children and parents, he said.

Faisal Abdulaziz emphasised the role of relevant agencies and institutions, saying that they should actively promote awareness and education about addiction risks and psychoactive substances.

Initiatives and nationwide programmes targeting parents across various work environments are essential, he added, stressing that parents should familiarise themselves about the UAE's anti-drug laws and be aware of available treatment centres.

Kaltham Mohammed, a parent, stressed the importance of guiding and educating parents on dealing with their children regarding drugs, psychoactive substances and drug-related risks.

By cultivating a culture of awareness within families, she said, and helping prevent risky behaviours and exposure to drug dealers, parents contribute to community-wide protection against this dangerous phenomenon.

The General Directorate of Federal Drug Control, along with the National Drug Prevention Programme (Siraj) and the Drug Control Council, with participation from several strategic partners from official entities nationwide, underscore the critical role parents play in safeguarding children from the perils of drugs and narcotics in their guide titled "Parents' Guide to Drug Prevention."

The guide aims to contribute to protecting families from the danger of drugs, developing parents' skills to protect children from drug use, and enabling them to manage and address all risk factors.

The guide seeks to equip parents with knowledge about various types of narcotics and psychoactive substances, their harms, and indicators.

It dispels common misconceptions and educates parents on their preventive role in protecting their children and family members.

Empowering parents to detect and intervene early in cases of drug use is a central focus of the guide.

By developing essential skills, parents can effectively address risk factors surrounding their children.

The guide introduces the Siraj programme for drug prevention.

Siraj aims to raise awareness about the dangers of narcotics and psychoactive substances, emphasising positive values and good company as societal protective factors.

Beyond individual families, the guide encourages institutions and community members to prevent the use of narcotics scientifically and institutionally.

It also supports the training of specialists in drug prevention and addiction.

Instilling happiness and positivity as a lifestyle helps steer individuals away from drug use, the guide says, emphasising that choosing friends who provide positive advice contributes to personal development and reduces the risk of falling into drug-related problems.

The guide stresses that having cohesive families plays a primary role in protecting children by instilling noble values and enhancing relationships, while maintaining overall health is also crucial for individual and societal wellbeing.

The guide sheds light on the physical, mental, and social effects of drug use, from heart disorders to blood pressure issues, gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, chronic headaches, physical and nervous exhaustion, general weakness and emaciation, hepatitis, HIV infection, liver and kidney damage, chronic pneumonia, sudden death, epilepsy, and mental disorders, emphasising the need for vigilance and preventive action.

It also addresses the psychological health effects such as sleep disorders, delusions, auditory, visual, and sensory hallucinations, schizoid personality disorders, anxiety, depression, stress, weak concentration, introversion, isolation, instability, and suicidal tendencies.

Additionally, the social effects are covered, including the spread of crime, theft, family disintegration, high unemployment rates, social isolation, lack of responsibility, and being a bad role model for children.

The guide points out the economic burden of drugs, including reduced productivity, high costs related to combating narcotics, addiction treatment, associated diseases, and the depletion of funds.

The guide also identifies various individual causes that may lead to drug use, including weak religious motivation and moral values, bad company, imitation and curiosity, idleness, and weak life skills.

Societal causes could be lack of awareness, weak values, negative media influence and family factors.

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