Tramadol has become widespread among school children who get the narcotic-like pain reliever from older friends, a Dubai health official has warned.
In the absence of urgent action, many school boys could become drug addicts and end up in prison, said Shamsa Abdullah Hammad, director of Afia health centre, which belongs to the Dubai Health Authority.
“There are many children aged just 12 years taking Tramadol…they get it from older friends who tell them it will help them study better,” she told the Dubai-based Arabic language daily Emarat Alyoum.
“We have heard before about drug addiction cases spreading among those aged 16 years but we failed to take action…this led to the spread of addiction.”
Hammad said Dubai is in urgent need for rehabilitation centres to tackle the growing drug addiction problem among the youth.
“Young drug adducts end up in jail…if we have these centres, we could prevent this and turn them into active members of the community,” she said.
“I believe a drug addict is a sick person who needs to have treatment….we should not consider them criminals and jail them.”
She said addiction in schools starts when a student is given a tablet by bad friends, who tell the children that it is a vitamin to help them in their studies.
“The child then takes that tablet as a vitamin but it is actually Tramadol…he then starts to gradually become an addict and begins having problems with his family after failing in school…many of the adducts left school and could not find a job, ending up in prison….some of them contracted AIDS.”