The National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) has completed the pilot stage of its awareness program targeting schools in Abu Dhabi. As part of ongoing efforts to address addiction in the UAE and its priority to alleviate the burden of addiction on society, NRC’s awareness pilot program included outreach to four public schools in Abu Dhabi, Bani Yas, Al Ain and Madinat Zayed.
600 students from the ninth and tenth grade at Abu Dhabi Secondary School in Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Bin Mohammed School in Bani Yas, Excellence School in Al Ain, and Al Gharbeya School in the Western Region took part in NRC’s awareness program, which included two lectures for students and two for their parents.
The lectures targeting parents focused on refining their communication skills to ensure they are equipped with the right tools to protect their teenage children from the disease of addiction.
The lectures for students focused on educating the youth on the different types of substances and their effect on the brain as well as defining addiction, its complications, and treatment methods. The emphasis was placed on the Center’s role in treating and rehabilitating substance users while focusing on the community’s role in spreading awareness and combatting addiction. Lecturers also introduced students to the UAE’s law, which states that no disciplinary measures are taken if the patient suffering from addiction comes forward to ask for treatment voluntarily.
The lectures also helped students understand the causes behind addiction, its factors, and the role of peer pressure and its influence as one of the main factors leading to addiction. Students were also given a practical training session designed to quip them with the necessary skills to deal with this kind of pressure and avoid experimenting with substance use.
The dialogue between the lecturers and students revealed students’ curiously about particular topics such as addiction to cigarettes and shisha, their harmful consequences and ways to break the habit. Additionally, students asked many questions related to the rule of law, the substance of Qat and its effects, as well as general methods of treatment and ways to get in touch with the Center. The program sessions were designed to engage students with a number of sessions focused on role play where students were asked to act out different scenarios to understand how peer pressure can lead to cigarette and drug addiction.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council is always seeking partnerships with entities that can benefit students and the education sector as whole. ADEC continues towards creating a health and well-informed generation as one of its key priorities. This awareness program set forth by NRC is a wholesome effort that is designed to raise awareness among the students and help enhance communication skills among parents at the same time. ADEC aims to facilitate any effort of equipping students with the necessary knowledge to help them avoid risky experimental behavior, peer-pressure and the temptations associated with drug use.
Teaching staff, social workers and management at the participating schools also agreed that initiatives such as NRC’s pilot program will address the impact of substance abuse and raise much needed awareness among their students. The second phase of the program, which will raise awareness among families, is scheduled to take place at the start of the next academic year (2014/2015) and will cover eight schools based on the needs and distribution of Abu Dhabi’s population.