Drug abuse and misuse has serious implications for individuals, families and the wider community. Its presence in society can lead to unemployment, crime, family dysfunction and community breakdown. Research over the past fifteen years has highlighted the disproportionate negative impact of drug abuse on Muslim communities.
Although there is an increasing awareness amongst families of drug abuse, there is much more work to be undertaken. We want to end the stigmatisation of users which has so far prevented an open discussion on drug abuse and has held abusers back from accessing the necessary support. By uniting community leaders, religious institutions and families in dialogue we aim to find local, community led solutions to the problems which include all that are affected.
Muslim Hands is taking a holistic approach to counter the effects of drug abuse in the community. We have been empowering local service providers, building their capacity to provide support to users and increasing the awareness of their services in the community. Local providers are working with users on an individual case by case basis and providing counselling to users. They listen to their concerns and aid their recovery to help prevent relapses.
We aim to work with mainstream service providers to recognise the cultural aspect of drug abuse for families and abusers, and the implications this has on their willingness to seek help.
Haroon* enjoyed a healthy life with his family in Manchester, however after a fallout he was forced to leave and move to a council estate in Leicester where drugs are prevalent. Struggling to cope with his ruined marriage, Haroon’s drug misuse has increased, and without friends and family to turn to, the only people he speaks with are other drug abusers. He has gathered criminal convictions from stealing to feed his habit, and he frequently turns to the streets to beg for money. Haroon’s health is deteriorating and he is losing weight fast.
Haroon realises the need to make massive and realistic changes to his lifestyle in order to re-marry and have the family life he covets. Muslim Hands are supporting counsellors to work with him and help him on his path to rehabilitation. To begin, they seek to rehouse him in a better environment more conducive to his recovery. Coupled with in depth counselling and contact engagement, they are committed to helping Haroon reduce his drug intake and finally be drug free.
* Name changed to protect the drug abusers identity