UAE: Drug Prevention Forum unveils Strategies to Prevent Child Drug Abuse

Omar Abbas - | Mix

Experts and security specialists have emphasized the significance of protective characteristics that lessen the possibility of abusing psychotropic and narcotic drugs.

On the other hand, they noted that some risk factors, which differ depending on the age of the child, raise the likelihood of substance abuse.

During the Drug Prevention Forum in Dubai, held under the patronage of Lt. General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, experts discussed ways to enhance protective factors for children and reduce risk factors at different developmental stages.

For children from birth to five years old, protective factors include individual traits such as social skills training, greeting others, forming friendships, asking for help, and listening. Family support is crucial in nurturing these skills, fulfilling children's social and behavioral needs, and engaging in open communication with them.

Early Childhood Risk Factors

But there are a lot of risk factors for this age range as well. These include family risks like drinking alcohol while pregnant, parental neglect, not providing for the child's needs, and parental separation, as well as individual risks like psychological and behavioral disorders (such as hyperactivity, shyness, speech delays, and isolation), according to the "Parents' Guide to Drug Prevention" that was presented at the forum.

Protective factors for children aged six to ten include discipline, adherence to behavioral rules, the ability to form positive relationships, self-control, and the development of decision-making and problem-solving skills. Family protective measures at this stage involve setting home rules, engaging in conversations, sharing hobbies, supervising free time, and being aware of the child's friends and social interactions. Community activities, such as participation in sports clubs under expert supervision, also play a role in protection.

Individual problems like hostility, anxiety, sadness, and disobedience to school rules are risk factors for this age group. Family dangers include disagreements between parents, a lack of rules in the home, substance abuse by parents, physical and psychological maltreatment of children, overindulgence in pampering, and inadequate supervision. Easy availability of tobacco products and the spread of false perceptions about substance use and smoking are among the societal concerns.

The intricacy of risk and protective factors rises as kids approach puberty. For this age group, individual protective factors include healthy physical development, emotional control, self-assurance, decision-making and problem-solving abilities, the capacity to refuse drugs, and keeping strong friendships.

Family protective factors involve establishing household rules, listening and communicating with children, encouraging their interests, monitoring academic performance, knowing their friends, avoiding violence, providing consistent supervision and guidance, and educating them about dangers and coping mechanisms. Societal protective factors include promoting a culture of resistance to drug abuse, offering volunteer opportunities, and providing community clubs.

Adolescents who exhibit risk factors include those who are impulsive, anxious, depressed, substance abusers, underachievers, unaware of the dangers of drugs, and unable to resist peer pressure. Parental substance abuse, a lack of discipline, frayed family ties, neglect, overindulgence in pampering, and inadequate financial management are examples of family dangers. The availability of narcotics, their accessibility, and the harmful impact of the media and social media, which propagate false beliefs about drug usage, are all considered societal dangers.

Drug Prevention Forum at Dubai Hills Mall

The Drug Prevention Forum 2024, under the slogan “My Family... My Greatest Wealth,” spans ten days at the Dubai Hills Mall. The forum has seen significant family and children participation, especially in the innovation laboratory featuring various games and fun competitions.

Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Al Hammadi from the Federal General Administration for Combating Narcotics emphasized the importance of the forum, which coincides with World Drug Day, to raise parental awareness about drug dangers and protection methods. The forum's activities are designed to underscore the value of family in safeguarding children from substance abuse.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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