Drug addiction in expat students on the rise in Kuwait

Published:  24 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Money, Jobs, Study Abroad
Expats in Kuwait are being urged to ensure their kids don’t get involved with the emirate’s growing drug culture.

For those expatriate families with a breadwinner and spouse in high-salaried positions, the Kuwait lifestyle is far different from that in the home country, involving leaving the kids with nannies, maids, preschools or nurseries whilst parents concentrate on their full-time jobs and the emirate’s busy social life. It seems expat youngsters in the emirate respond to a lack of a loving home environment in a similar manner to those in the West by getting involved with their peers in the growing narcotics scene.

A recent scary report by the director of the emirate’s Drugs Control Central Department focuses on the growing narcotics problem, stating 20 per cent of all students have experimented with illegal drug usage. In addition, drug-related fatalities in 2018 grew from the 2017 figure of 68 to 116, a shocking increase posing a troubling question – how do students get the money to buy drugs and how is access to narcotics so easy for young people? The obvious answer is that clandestine networks of pushers include students who sell to their classmates after buying from dealers known to them.

For kids who’ve become addicted to this expensive habit, stealing from parents and classmates in order to fund the highs is now the norm, with some even using petty crime as a last resort. Kuwait’s highly conservative society in which drug addiction is rarely discussed in polite society, is allowing its tentacles an opportunity to spread across the student demographic. Addiction in the family is shameful and rehab services are rare, leaving expat families with addicted children afraid they’ll be seen as criminals rather than victims if caught. Punishments include deportation resulting in the break-up of expat families.

It’s a sad fact that, even in the Middle East, kids and young adults see drugs as cool rather than addictive and potentially deadly, leaving their stressed-out parents to find a solution when addiction is discovered. One way is to spend more time together as a family, but for expat professionals committed to their jobs, doing so can range from difficult to impossible. Making youngsters fully aware of the dangers and legal implications of drug usage also involves encouraging them in healthier, legal activities and finding a way to help them develop their talents.
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