© 2020 All rights reserved to Maaal Newspaper
Publisher: Maaal International Media Company
The war on drugs in Saudi Arabia is a complex issue that hasn’t hindered the Saudi government from taking a hard line on drugs with punishments for possession and use, which has led to a significant decrease in drug use and trafficking throughout the country. The country has a zero-tolerance policy for drug use and possession, and those caught with drugs will face serious punishments from imprisonment, to the death penalty, making Saudi Arabia a far less attractive destination for drug traffickers.
According to a 2017 report by the World Bank, the drug war in Saudi Arabia has cost the country an estimated $10 billion per year. This includes the cost of law enforcement, security, and healthcare. The Saudi government has continued to wage the drug war, firm in the belief that the war is necessary to protect the country from the harmful effects brought to the citizens by the drugs themselves, alongside all the crime and destruction that ushers in with them.
The Saudi government has increased its investment in drug treatment and prevention programs in recent years, having been driven by several factors, including the growing number of drug users in the country, the rising cost of drug addiction, and the increasing awareness of the harmful effects of drugs. Programs now exist in the Kingdom such as community-based prevention, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, and school-based prevention, and Saudi Arabia has recently increased its funding for research into drug addiction and meaningful, effective treatment as a different yet friendlier approach to combat the problem.
From an economic standpoint, all the investments being injected into this situation will, over the long term, avoid the number of deep-rooted issues that often court people with drug addiction such as unemployment, personal or child neglect, and drug-related violence. With the social costs reduced, improved overall citizen health, increased productivity, and an influx of right-minded people will one day be a win for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This would also reduce the happenings of crime and violence, making areas a more welcome sight for tourists or businesses.
Overall, Saudi Arabia is constantly trying to make its war on drugs more wise, fair, and firm, but there is nothing easy about it, as the ongoing drug problem traffics through private homes while doing its work to destroy private lives. If dealing with this issue was an easy feat to achieve, it wouldn’t be called a “war on drugs.”
Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Saudi Scholar & Writer *