Tag Archives: International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Jimi Hendrix used in Lebanese anti-drug campaign

27 Jun
Nationwide campaign highlights dangers of substance abuse

NGO Oum al-Nour aims to help drug users overcome addiction
By Dalila Mahdawi
Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: “Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.” These words, uttered by the legendary American rock star Jimi Hendrix, sound lighthearted at first. But bearing in mind Hendrix’s premature death of a possible drug overdose at the age of 27, they might better serve as a warning to today’s youth to steer clear of drug use. This weekend, his words will do just that. Along with a number of other celebrity quotes, Hendrix’s remarks are being used in a nationwide awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of substance abuse.

The campaign is organized annually by non-governmental organization Oum al-Nour, which helps drug users in Lebanon overcome their addiction and reintegrate into society. The four-day campaign, which began on Thursday, coincides with International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26. This year, Oum al-Nour has joined hands with the Interior Ministry and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to distribute drink coasters and placemats across bars and restaurants around the country. Drug quotes from Hendrix, actor Leonardo Dicaprio and the late frontman of 90s rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, are just some of the remarks that appear on the accessories. They were chosen with the hope of arousing the curiosity of young punters to the problem of substance abuse.

The campaign is organized annually by non-governmental organization Oum al-Nour, which helps drug users in Lebanon overcome their addiction and reintegrate into society. The four-day campaign, which began on Thursday, coincides with International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26. This year, Oum al-Nour has joined hands with the Interior Ministry and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to distribute drink coasters and placemats across bars and restaurants around the country. Drug quotes from Hendrix, actor Leonardo Dicaprio and the late frontman of 90s rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, are just some of the remarks that appear on the accessories. They were chosen with the hope of arousing the curiosity of young punters to the problem of substance abuse.

While the number of regular drug users in Lebanon is unknown, there has been a definite increase in the number of younger drug users, Oum al-Nour’s Managing Director Mona Yazigi told The Daily Star. “More than 60 percent of the user’s supported by Oum al-Nour are between 14 and 19 years old.” Young drug users are particularly vulnerable because their bodies have not fully developed, putting them at higher risk of serious psychological problems later in life, Yazigi said. But drugs like hashish, ecstasy and cocaine appear widely available and popular.

 

In conjunction with the coasters and placemat campaign, Oum al-Nour has also launched a media campaign targeting the parents of young drug users. The campaign, dubbed “Keep an eye on your child,” is meant to encourage parents to take an active interest in the lives of their offspring and to watch for signs of substance abuse. “The main message is that parents should be involved,” said Yazigi. “They should ask when, where, why and what” of their children’s activities. “It’s a proven way of keeping your children safe and drug free.” Oum al-Nour’s free of charge services include counseling services for the parents of drug users. The sessions help educate parents about addiction and how to best support their child through rehabilitation. This is often harder than it sounds, with Yazigi noting a culture of taboo surrounding the issue of drug abuse.

This year’s campaign is extra special for Oum al-Nour. It is marking 20 years since the organization’s founding by a group of young individuals after the overdose and death of one of their friends. But with Oum al-Nour receiving around 400 new cases each year, there is plenty of work still to be done on drug abuse in Lebanon.

If you want help getting over your drug addition, call Oum al-Nour on 09210285 or 09223731.