DOHA: The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is all set to open a new centre this month to help people with addiction problems, said an official yesterday.
The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre (TRC) will provide education, prevention and rehabilitation for substance addicts, said Dr Ahmed Omar Ahmed Al Agib, senior consultant psychiatrist at the TRC.
The new facility is set to open by the end of the month near the Racing and Equestrian Club in Al Rayyan. It will function closely with primary health centres, which can help identify people who are addicted to drugs, said Dr Al Agib on sidelines of a workshop held for health care professionals about TRC.
Although comprehensive statistics on drug addiction in Qatar are not available, officials say that the magnitude of the problem is “similar to other countries in the region”. The victims are often addicted to alcohol, cannabis, captagon and sweika (chewable tobacco). Addicts seeking help in Qatar included youth as young as 18 to adults aged over 60, Dr Al Agib said.
“We don’t know the size of the problem, therefore a survey will start soon to identify the reasons, nature and prevalence of addiction,” he said.
TRC will initially open with 28 beds for inpatients and a separate clinic for out-patients. It will have a staff of nearly 100 doctors, nurses and social workers.
Although patients will be referred to TRC by primary health centres, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and social workers, people with addiction problem can go to the centre directly.
Drug addiction treatment is based on a biological, psycho-social and spiritual programme, with a residential programme. This includes detoxification and psycho-social therapy, after which patients are sent to the after-care programme.
“A comprehensive programme will be followed at the TRC, with international standards. The centre will keep privacy and confidentiality of patients. Therefore anyone who has an addiction problem can approach without any stigma,” Dr Al Agib said. “Treatment time can vary depending on nature of the addiction,” he added.
Dr Al Agib also explained that social stigma is a huge obstacle which prevents many substance addicts from seeking medical assistance. Many addicts are presently treated at HMC’s Psychiatry Department, Arshidni Centre as well as the Social Rehabilitation Centre (SRC).