By Clovis Choueifaty
BEIRUT, Jan 4 (KUNA) -- Humanitarian and social societies in Lebanon are engaged in fierce battle to rehabilitate drug addicts to blend them back into society, offering treatment programs despite dire economic and social circumstances.
Unemployment, lack of awareness and deteriorating living conditions are pushing many Lebanese to take drugs, becoming addicts.
"The capacity of the five rehabilitation centers in Lebanon does not exceed 600 person every year so the rest of addicts remain without cure of rehabilitation," said Elie Lahoud, CEO of Youth Against Drugs.
Speaking to KUNA, Lahoud said security authorities have been arresting 2,500 addicts every year, however 70 percent of them return to taking drugs.
He noted a large number of addicts remain anonymous because they are worried of being arrested.
Youth Against Drugs, which began its work in 1994, launches awareness campaigns and organize rehabilitation programs in collaboration with families of addicts, he explained.
The NGO, he added, also followed cases of ex-addicts 18 months after treatment to pave way for his reintegration into society.
Lahoud also said Youth Against Drugs, team of which comprise mostly former addicts who have joined the society to help addicts, also offer programs for non-Lebanese who come from abroad for treatment.
Dr. Nusra Beisari, director of addicts' treatment center at Daher Al-Bachek Hospital in Mount Lebanon, said the hospital has been receiving around 60 addicts every year.
She told KUNA the hospital team, including doctors, nurses and therapists, underwent intensive training in France.
Beisari said addicts seeking treatment aged between 18 and 65 years old.
She added the treatment center includes separate rooms, gardens and entertainment facilities, noting that the Ministry of Health contributes to covering treatment costs.
Lebanon has been engaged in fierce war against drugs and traffickers, and security authorities seize large amounts of smuggled drugs regularly. (end)