Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kuwait Scrambles To Curb Spread Of Crystal Meth: ‘Shabu’ Spreading Like Wildfire

Finally, I see something in the newspaper about this epidemic in Kuwait.

Kuwait Scrambles To Curb Spread Of Crystal Meth
‘Shabu’ Spreading Like Wildfire
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 14: Methamphetamine, also known as Crystal Meth has been spreading throughout the country like wildfire, authorities are scrambling to curb the rapid spread, and Parliament is doing what it has to do from its part. Criminal lawyers and officials from the government affirm that cases of crystal meth, locally known as “shabu,” has already clawed its way into the lives of the youth, posing a great threat to their lives and the lives of the people around them.
For this reason, the constitutional union bloc organized a seminar at its headquarters in South Surra Wednesday night. Under the theme “Shabu ... an imminent danger,” the seminar lamented the reasons behind its recent spread, symptoms and other important information that the public ought to know about the drug, through speeches from concerned experts.
Dr Hassan Al-Musawi, a well known psychologist and education specialist was first of the speakers to assert that the recent spread of crystal meth cases is due to the lack of awareness, and the improper manner of addressing the addict, in addition to numerous other factors.
He asserted that we have to look at the issue from a bigger perspective, and for the general public to stop looking down on parents with children that are addicted to some sort of drug, for the sole reason that it is not constructive in any way.
Dr Hassan also pointed out that the inconsistency in governmental surveys regarding the number of youth addicted to crystal meth is also an issue, for the number given by the ministry of interior differs from the number given by let’s say the ministry of education, which has ran a survey in schools asking them if they have tried crystal meth and how many times.
In the ministry’s point of view, a student that has honestly answered and wrote “a have tried it once,” is counted as an addict which is a big mistake in his opinion. Based on his experience in dealing with drug addicts, from teenagers to young men in their 30s, with parents that are on the brink of giving up of them, Dr Hassan noted that whenever he asks the question “what made you start taking drugs,” they almost always answer the same way “what doesn’t make us do it.” In most cases, drug addicts usually suffer from some sort of depression, they feel that the world is against them, they have no guidance, they feel lost, Dr Hassan further clarified that “we cannot place the whole blame on the addict, for there are many factors that has contributed to his problem.” Dr Hassan explained that spreading awareness among the youth is not going to be affective enough if the parents are not educated on the matter as well, urging parents and families to learn the behaviors and symptoms that might lead to drug consumption, or indicate that they have started taking drugs, for the reason that it is a vital factor in safeguarding the youth from drug addiction. When it comes to governmental authorities and the general public, Dr Hassan stated that it is not helpful when authorities treat individuals with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) or an addict as some sort of degenerate, or parents and families giving up and accepting that this is their punishment from God. “We should not be quick to judge,” affirmed Dr Hassan as he explained that there are numerous factors that have lead to this issue that we are unaware of, that is why we need to pin point the issue and resolve it from the source, or else it is just a matter of time before they spiral out of control.
Before concluding, Dr Hassan stated that there is much to do with regard to combating drug addiction, and we are all in it together, families, the public, the authorities and the law, which he noted includes unnecessary provisions like preventing a rehabilitated addict from acquiring a job before five years of being “clean.” Disagreeing with Dr Hassan, Abdullah Al-Sanad, a prominent criminal lawyer stated that the Kuwaiti law is by no means at fault or flawed, as it is solid in terms of protecting the public from narcotics and the issues it entails, pointing out that the fault is at the enforcement of the law itself.
He added according to the Kuwaiti law, a drug dealer is sentenced to death if he was to be proven guilty, but since enforcement is poor, the time spent between the sentence and its execution can span out to 4 years, pointing out that by that time, the public has already forgotten about it, which negates half the reason of a capital punishment, which is “setting an example.” Abdullah went on to express his grief on the fact that this class A drug is now easily attainable by 15 year olds, and when asked “why are you doing this to yourself?” they simply reply with “i want to escape reality.” In his opinion, all this can easily be avoided if the public is well informed, stressing that the Kuwaiti youth are generally bright and full of life, therefore getting caught in this web of addiction must be from an exterior element.
He says this because of a case he handled recently, where he asked a straight A student who became an addict of crystal meth for the reason behind his consumption, and was answered with “I was told that it would ease me up.” “The poor boy did not know what crystal meth was,” stated Abdullah as he asserted that a continuous campaign on crystal meth awareness is vital in preventing such cases.
To further assert his point, Abdullah shared the story of one of the first drug dealers caught distributing crystal meth.
He said that during those days, “shabu” was not recognized as a narcotic at the ministry of interior, prompting the dealer to import the substance and start his network in the country. He was later caught, but was confident enough to answer the Kuwaiti Drug Enforcement Authority when he was asked what it is he is distributing.
Considering the authority did not know what “shabu” was at the time, and it was not registered in their books, they resorted to blood testing, which came back showing that the person has Methamphetamine in his blood stream, a drug that is recognized and punishable by death in case of distribution.
On his turn, Abdulrahman Al-Saleem an experienced pharmacist and a member of the board of directors at the Kuwaiti Pharmacists Association, asserted that Methamphetamine is considered one of the top ten most dangerous drugs, just next to Heroin and Cocaine. Abdulrahman revealed that the majority of the substance if not all of it, that is being distributed in the country is not imported from outside the country, but rather being produced inside.
And this is mainly because “producing Methamphetamine is as easy as baking a cake,” as long as you have the ingredients which can be bought from pharmacies and general stores, and have the equipment for the procedure, you can make it. He also lamented the fact that the country does not recognize the capability of rehabilitation centers in cleaning up an addict, leaving parents with no other choice but to send their addicted children to psychologists, which in his opinion is not an affective measure.
On the other hand, Ahmed Al- Hunayan, an expert in computers and IT shed light on another phenomenon that has been spreading recently. He referred to what is now known “digital drugs” which is basically “binaural beats.” He explained that binaural beats is an audio file that one can download and listen to, via headphones for the purpose of going into a trance and experience a “high” similar to what you experience when you consume drugs like crystal meth. Although the affects are only on a mental level, the danger lies on how this product is being marketed.
As Ahmed pointed out that the term “digital drug” is a commercial term for binaural beats, in order to make it more appealing to the youth. He further explained that websites that allow you to download these files in exchange for a low fee categorize the audio files according to the type of “high” one will experience if listened to.
For example, if you want the “high” of crystal meth you download a specific file, if you want Marijuana, you download another. Youth who find their way into these kind of websites, download the file, and experience the high, will only wonder how the real drug feels like, which might lead them to purchasing the actual drug.

Of note is that this article is full of spelling and punctuation mistakes.  Spell check, dudes.  Whutup?
And I'm sorry, but the use of Shabu/meth is NOT limited to the young in Kuwait.  Older people are using too.  The whole country seems to be tweaking.  The stuff costs less than alcohol.


Crazy in Kuwait said...

I see the drugs and tools on IG and it reminds me of the tweakers in Cali. I worked with Mental Health Dept in drug rehab and watched people recover for a short time and go back to the habit. For those people who smell something toxic coming from the flat next door it could be a meth lab. I don't think there are enough doctors who understand the drug abusers in Kuwait to handle this problem.

Anonymous said...

Grammar and punctuation errors in the Arab Times? Shock! Horror!