A draft law to establish a compulsory course called "Drug Addiction" to become part of the national education curricula across public and private schools, and institutions of higher education was debated and signed on November 6, 2017, at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU).
The Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS) at NDU organized, in collaboration with Prevention Association, the Department of Community Service and Awareness (CSA) at NDU, and the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS) at NDU, a conference titled, “Between Rehabilitation and Collapse: No for Drugs, Yes for Life.”
The Conference was held under the patronage of H.E. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Ghassan Hasbani and in presence of Chairman of the Parliamentary Health Committee MP Atef Majdalani, MP Nematallah Abi Nasr, and MP Amal Abi Zeid as well as military figures, specialists, and heads of municipalities and associations.
Director of Public Affairs and Protocol at NDU Majed Bou Hadir welcomed the guests and provided an introduction to the themes, goals, and context of the conference. FNHS Dean Dr. Antoine Farhat stressed the disturbing social situations. He said, “The depletion of natural resources and ignoring their conservation as well as the drug addiction among youth greatly threaten future generations … resulting in increased ignorance and a lack of desire to make positive changes.”
Prevention Association Chairperson Dr. Asma Saliba Abi Nasr thanked NDU for its efforts and extended special thanks to NDU President Fr. Pierre Najem who is always keen to respond to and support new initiatives. She called for practical action or "reinforcement" by working on harnessing youth capacities, focusing on the role of the family, and restoring the self-confidence of addicts.
For his part, Fr. Najem highlighted the importance of the University’s responsibility toward its students by accompanying them and helping them achieve their different goals. He said, "We do not want any of our young men and women to try anything that would harm and enslave them … NDU has never once hesitated to educate about the harms of drug use. As part of its overall strategy to encourage prevention, the University has always provided realistic awareness in this regard.”
Michel Aad, Director of Hasbani’s office, thanked the University for its initiative. "We are not only patriotic and pro-education but also above all, humanitarian, as we continue to contribute to building the Lebanon of tomorrow, and remaining ever-committed to humankind and human dignity … Drugs are enslaving our youth, taking away their freedom, dampening their will, and shattering their dreams. Addicts are our society’s weak link, and we have to offer our support to save them from this alternate reality, not condemn them.”
He added, "As the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the other ministries concerned, we have developed a national strategy to combat addiction and enhance treatment and awareness of its risks to prevent its diffusion into our society."
This strategy for the years 2016-21 aims to provide a wide range of services to treat addicts and provide accessibility to recovery, treatment programs, alternatives to drug users (...) The Ministry of Health of the National Observatory of Drugs and Addiction has also established statistics and studies on drugs and addiction.
Aad explained further, "We are now working toward securing wards in government hospitals nationwide to treat addiction, following a successful trial-run in early 2013 at Dahr el-Bachek Governmental Hospital, which started treating addicts … We have allocated a special financial ceiling for treatment. The addict pays only fifteen percent of the cost of treatment. We also have contracts with a number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers; we hope to increase both their numbers and the financial ceiling allocated to them as well as the number of families in them.”
Workshop attendances were: Majdalani, Nasr, Zeid, Oum El Nour Association President Dr. Simon Karam, FLPS Dean Dr. Maan Bou Saber, and Dr. Abi Nasr.
The meeting also included the screening of a documentary about the joy of rehabilitation with live testimonies, a song was specially produced for the occasion, and commemorative shields were distributed to participants.