Drug addiction and abuse has reached pandemic proportions. It has left a trail of devastation in the lives of many drug addicts, their families and loved ones. The stories are heart-breaking. The treatment process for addicts is by no means easy. It is wishful to think that merely with some duas, medication and rehabilitation an individual will overcome the bad habit or dependency. Once an addict, the road to recovery can be long, lonely and tiresome. Sadly there are many who do not make it.
Therefore, at DAD (Drugs Awareness Drive), we believe that every community should work very hard on the aspect of raising awareness about drugs as prevention is surely better than cure. Awareness and education still remains the most effective method of prevention. The harms and destruction that drugs bring with it must be highlighted to create a firm abhorrence and detestation for it in the minds of our youth and children.
The physical, financial, social, legal and spiritual harms of this scourge should be constantly highlighted so that anyone wanting to consider this path will be fully aware of its harmful outcome.
As Muslims, we have a collective responsibility to save our society from this debilitating scourge that has already consumed so many of our youth and done irreparable damage to families - it threatens to destroy many more.
Every Muslim must be deeply concerned about the tribulations and challenges facing our community, especially the escalating problem of drugs, its availability and consumption by young children and vulnerable youth.
The Hadith illustrates the example of society to a ship in which people of the lower deck are dependent on people of the upper deck for water. If those on the upper deck are negligent and too engrossed in their comforts and forget about their responsibility to pass water to those on the lower deck, then those at the bottom will decide to create their own means of water by plunging a hole in the ship. This will result in the destruction of the entire ship. The example of a community is the same. We all need to care for each other.
Our responsibility is categorised into 3 segments so we all can understand what role we should be playing in making drug prevention a reality in our community. If we work together towards developing these preventative strategies then we will be contributing actively towards the building of a healthier future for our children and the generations to come.
Guidelines for Parents
Adopt a holistic approach to the upbringing of our children. Be proactive and pre-emptive in their lives. Give them a wholesome upbringing, insulate them from societal ills – With a sound upbringing they will be much better prepared to face the challenges and temptations.
Communication is key – talk to and know your children - Be warm and accessible - be vigilant of their movements and know their friends – Beware of wrong company in the family circle – Peer pressure is a major and decisive factor with 'beginners'.
Spend quality time with your children – Parents are neglecting their responsibility by being over absorbed with personal pursuits – this is having a negative effect on the parent-child relationship – children then look elsewhere for attention.
As a parent do not expect the teacher, Moulana or institution to assume the responsibility of your child's upbringing. This is primarily your responsibility for which you shall be accountable. Teachers and others can play a supportive role.
Educate yourself about issues affecting your child (drugs abuse, immorality, bad company, new ideologies/influences etc.)
Engage your child in Deeni activities and programmes. Keep your child occupied in the company of the righteous, programmes of Zikr and to spend time in the path of Allah Ta'ala. Attend these programmes with your child and be a role model.
Be kind and compassionate – spend on your child within your capacity but don't expend large sums of money to your child – Don't overspend or try to compensate for quality time with money as money can't buy love and compassion.
If you sense something is not right, get involved, find out and seek assistance, continue to interact with, guide and support your child – DO NOT BE IN DENIAL - there is always hope if we have true Imaan – seek advice and get help from those who sincerely share your concerns. Always be hopeful and encourage Taubah (repentance) – the mercy of Allah Ta'ala encompasses everything.
Ensure that your child gets good exposure to his spiritual and religious life by performing obligatory Salaah. A programme of regular Duas, Zikr, Quran recitation, book reading etc. are essential spiritual exercises to help ward off the negative effects of peer pressure and the calling of the nafs (inner passions).
Guidelines for Teachers and Educators
As a teacher your primary responsibility is to guide and educate. Many world based drug programmes have identified education as the most effective means of drug prevention. You are in the best position to teach, motivate and influence.
Establish a relationship of friendship with your learners such that they could confide in you and trust you to be their saviour in a moment of crisis. A relationship of friendship and trust is better than one of demands and dictates that is limited to the classroom. Your learners must believe in you with confidence. Even though some learners may not excel academically, they will excel as good human beings through your example of compassion and guidance.
Create ongoing awareness by teaching and highlighting the verses that prohibit intoxicants – urge its recitation and study in class, in assembly and whenever there is an opportunity for dialogue.
Through awareness inculcate a strong sense of aversion and abhorrence for drugs and intoxicants like the aversion a Muslim has for pork and liquor.
Create a monthly theme in school/Madrasah by using fun aids, charts, banners, sign boards etc. This will serve as a constant reminder of the dangers of drugs.
Use media - Get the pupils to collect pictures, articles, booklets, posters etc. on drugs and build a library of information. Get the school library to stock literature that will enhance drug education and awareness.
Encourage the keeping of good company and avoiding friendships that are non-beneficial or harmful – teach your pupils the importance and benefits of good friendship.
Arrange regular programmes by Ulama and experts to address the learners and engage them on their issues. Programmes should be interactive and solution orientated – Avoid being negative and creating despondency.
Encourage the recitation of duas for protection and urge pupils towards establishing a strong bond with Allah Ta'ala that will be means of protection from all vices throughout life.
Guidelines for Community members
Every member of the community is a vital part of the fight against drugs. Every person should be mobilised to make a contribution to this cause.
We should be alert and vigilant of our surroundings and report unlawful activity report to the relevant authority. Always operate within the law.
Organise educational and empowerment programmes on the challenges facing the youth and engage them in discussion. Let everyone speak about their hopes, fear and challenges. Knowledge and awareness is the key to prevention.
Arrange and engage the community especially youth to participate in youth programmes that will keep them busy and engaged. Many become influenced to do wrong due to there being no alternative to do the right thing.
Identify the suppliers of narcotics in our community and through professional assistance use the full might of the law to have them apprehended. We should utilise the law enforcement options to ensure that the supply of drugs is curbed in our community.
Seeking Divine help through Salaah, Patience and Dua
The Noble Quran advises us to seek Allah's help through patience and Salaah. All should engage in regular Salaah and fervent dua for the Ummah – seek divine protection from all fitan and trials for ourselves, families and the community at large.
Collectively, if everyone from parents, educators, scholars, professionals, neighbours and community members all play their respective role, the pandemic of drug abuse can be beaten and all can enjoy a life of bliss and comfort.