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The World's Worst Place For Addicts: Saudi Arabia

Could you imagine being stopped for absolutely no reason and told to take a drug test? Or being stopped and once drugs are found on you having a gun pointed at you and being shot instantly? In high commitment states around the world they have a very low tolerance for drugs and drug users and it is usually a punishment that results in death.

Saudi Arabia, similar to China, is a high commitment state. A high commitment state is a category of countries that execute drug offenders in high numbers on a yearly basis. Saudi Arabia enforces a mandatory death sentence for anyone caught supplying or receiving drugs from abroad. Drug delinquents make up a substantial portion of those condemned to die and those who are actually executed. Rather than being an exceptional occurrence, executions for drug crimes seem a standardized part of the criminal justice process.

In Saudi Arabia, capital punishment for drugs was first introduced in 1987. Unfortunately, the government does not publish its official clarification of sharia law or an informative text, therefore judicial discretion is substantially broad. The death sentence may be enforced for many different reasons such as: trafficking in drugs and narcotics, receiving drugs and narcotics from a trafficker, bringing in, growing or receiving drugs and narcotics in cases other than licensed under this law, being an accomplice in any of these acts and circulating drugs and narcotics for the second time by selling, transporting or distributing under the condition that an established previous ruling has been pronounced indicting him for circulation for the first time.

Amnesty International recorded the first execution for drugs in Saudi Arabia on July 29th 1987 and the nine following executions before the end of 1987. Since then, Saudi Arabia has established into one of the world’s most hostile executors for drug crimes. It has been reported that about 60 percent of all prisoners in Saudi Arabia are there for drug use or drug trafficking. There are no bars or liquor stores in the entire country of Saudi Arabia! How crazy is that? If you travel there you are prohibited from bringing in any alcohol or narcotics. Even though I’ve seen a lot of statistics on the amount of deaths due to drug charges, apparently they are done by human rights groups and the governments prefer to keep this quiet.

World’s Worst Places for Addicts: Saudi Arabia: Getting Treatment

Apparently, there are options for drug addicts that are looking to get help in Saudi Arabia. In February of2011 during an interview with Arab News, Dr. Khaled Al-Mirghalini who is with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health stated that the kingdom currently has 18 hospitals that accommodate mental patients and drug addicts. Other than those facilities, there are no drug and alcohol rehab facilities other than these hospitals. The UNODC stated that non-Saudi addicts are jailed and deported and Saudis are usually sent to one of the three drug treatment hospitals in the country. It is unknown if non-Saudis have access to the Kingdom’s hospitals.

I feel so blessed to live in a country where drug and alcohol treatment centers are just around the corner, sometimes literally. This makes me even more grateful than I already am to have 2 years in recovery and makes me just want to continue helping others. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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