Use of methamphetamine is illegal and a criminal act in the UAE. Lack of awareness among students is the main reason for its rampant use, according to a study.
The General Department of Forensic Science and Criminology, Dubai Police, conducted a survey of schools and found majority of students who used the stimulant obtained it from friends.
The study reveals seven reasons why students use methamphetamine.
The main reason being lack of awareness. 88 per cent believe it is not a criminal act. While 41 per cent said the drug was easily available, another 41 per cent said friends and other influences were the reason why the use of the drug is spreading.
Meanwhile, 35 per cent said it acted as an anesthetic and would like to try it, another 35 per cent said it leads to ecstasy. 29 per cent said that the drug is used during leisure time. 11 per cent of those included in the study said they did not know it was a narcotic substance.
The study revealed, 47 per cent of those surveyed obtained the drug through friends, while 35 per cent confirmed they got it through the dealers or peddlers, while 17 per cent got it through the internet.
The student respondents confirmed that three grams of methamphetamine cost Dh500.
Of the 17 students who used the drug, 11 are extroverts and 6 introverts, the study revealed.
As for the methods used, 76 per cent of those surveyed said they used Al-Modawakh – similar to smoking pipes - and 17 per cent said they used paper rolls of cigarettes and one claimed using it with tea.
Detailing the effects of using the drug, 88 per cent said it made them euphoric and gave temporary happiness, while 23 per cent said they suffered from nausea and 17 per cent said they were tired.
About 53 per cent said the effect of the drug lasted for half-an-hour or more; 54 per cent said they suffered from symptoms similar to depression and 47 per cent said they suffered from fear and anxiety, while 35 per cent said they suffered from delirium and phobias. About 17 per cent said that the effect lasted two hours.
The study recommended the need to educate young people on the dangers of synthetic drugs.
It also recommended the inclusion of synthetic drugs within the drug table, so as to curb its promotion.
Smokers in schools
Meanwhile, 14.6 per cent students in Dubai schools smoke. And the percentage among university students is about 17.9 per cent, said the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
An 'Al Khaleej' report said the DHA awareness campaign ‘Dubai Free of Tobacco’ launched in 2009 has so far benefitted more than 20,000 people.
The DHA has now launched another awareness campaign - organised by Al Afya Centre, Zayed University Dubai branch - called ‘No smoking’, which includes several competitions focusing on the ill-effects of smoking.
Dr Hanan Obaid, head of community health services programmes, DHA, said this campaign aims to make Dubai tobacco-free.
Dr Shamsa bin Hammad, head of Al Afya Center said campaign included a number of lectures to raise awareness on the harms of smoking.