SIDON, Lebanon: Public officials announced Thursday the construction of a new drug rehabilitation center near the port city of Sidon.
“These kinds of specialized institutions are so rare in Lebanon,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said at a ceremony to announce the plans. “For decades there were local and small-scale efforts to combat this issue, but it remains limited.”
The rehabilitation facility is part of ongoing efforts in Sidon to curb drug use and raise national awareness about the issue. The Center for Social Protection will help treat substance abusers from across the country and eventually the region, and will play an active role in assimilating patients back into society following their treatment, Siniora said at Thursday’s event.
The center will be administered by Sidon’s local council to fight drug addiction, which formed in August with the help of public officials and local civil society organizations.
The council is tasked with creating infrastructure to treat addicts and carry out public awareness campaigns to help reform law and reduce narcotics abuse.
“This phenomenon that we want to combat is expanding and becoming more popular,” Siniora said. “The ages of the addicts are constantly falling and now include youths that are under 20 years old, as well as women and girls.”
Administrators are in the first stages of the project and have yet to decide on a location for the center, Siniora said.
Funding for the project includes donations from Kuwaiti Sheikh Bader Homaidi and a $1.1 million grant from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.
“We hope that this institution will open its doors in the future to cure drug addiction outside Lebanon and in the Arab world because of advanced treatments that we can develop here through the help of Arab and Lebanese experts,” Siniora said.