The Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi has launched Abu Dhabi Integrated Strategy to Combat Addiction (2022-2024) under the theme, ‘A Community Safe from Addiction’. Its main objectives include developing a holistic system to prevent substance use, enabling early identification and intervention, providing appropriate treatment to substance users, and ensuring fast reintegration of recovering individuals into their families and society. The strategy was developed in collaboration with local and federal entities, private and third sectors.

The strategy focuses on five pillars: 1) limiting drug supply and controlling access to narcotics, 2) strengthening prevention efforts and early intervention through educational campaigns and parent education programs 3) Identification and treatment, including examination, follow-up and referrals and launch of multichannel platforms to raise awareness about drug problems 4) reintegrating recovering individuals into the community 5) introducing enablers that include a code of conduct to ensure confidentiality of patients and development of a legislative framework related to addiction.

His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, said: “Abu Dhabi Integrated Strategy to Combat Addiction plays a key role in enabling individuals, society and stakeholders to carry out their roles and responsibilities based on the principle of integration, cooperation and best practices that help protect individuals and families from negative behaviour like drug abuse which will ensure proper and healthy integration to former recovering individuals back into the society in a positive way.”

He added: “The taskforce representing different sectors worked on developing the strategy based on guidelines that rely on best practices and international charters, such as the need to focus on early prevention and the importance of providing necessary treatment and rehabilitation support to different groups. The Department of Community Development has a responsibility to build an integrated system through cooperation with relevant authorities, which will help in early identification of cases, and adoption of approaches and mechanisms to ensure social reintegration of recovering substance users. We expect that after enforcing the strategy, it will decrease drug use rate and related deaths and increase the number of people getting treatment.”

Her Excellency Dr. Layla Al Hayas, Executive Director of the Monitoring and Social Innovation Sector at the Department of Community Development, said: “DCD pays equal attention to all segments of society to ensure they are integrated and empowered. The aim is to enable every individual to be socially productive. This aligns with DCD’s efforts to ensure a decent standard of living, as well as protect and support Abu Dhabi community with the help of our partners in the public and private sectors, and engage it in developing plans, initiatives, strategies, and policies that benefit everyone.”

With the launch of Abu Dhabi Integrated Strategy to Combat Addiction, the Department of Community Development seeks to introduce early identification and intervention mechanisms, in cooperation with strategic partners, so as to prevent individuals from using substances or becoming addicted. DCD also aims to empower families with parenting skills to protect young people from the dangers of drugs and groom children to become productive and responsible citizens. 

It is worth highlighting that DCD has launched along with its partners “My Community’s with me” campaign on digital platforms which coincides with the new launch of the strategy. The campaign aims to raise awareness and promote prevention, early identification, treatment and family and community reintegration.