Israel’s drug situation is a topic that has fascinated me in recent months. A major concern that’s growing around the world, drug abuse has risen from a small issue to one that is impacting Israel’s entire society. You can blame Israelis for copying western countries to an extent, but there also needs to be some form of accountability.
Youths are being exposed to drugs in elementary school. Availability is substantial, with children often buying drugs in their own neighborhoods or outside of schools.
It’s estimated that at least 300,000 Israelis are using drugs, with 70,000 between the age of 12 and 18. But in terms of addicts, this number stands around 25,000. These are the individuals that need drugs to get through their daily lives.
Use for addicts can be as often as three times per day.
Success for rehab and treatment of these individuals stands at around 33%, or around one-third of all drug users. And it’s easy to see why so many addicts fall back into addiction in Israel. Bans on drugs and alcohol do little to curb the problem.
Addiction, while it should not be promoted, is a chronic problem with no single solution for every addict. Many addiction centers believe that addiction is a disability because it impairs functionality. Assistance for these individuals is often not offered because they’ll use the income to buy drugs or alcohol, but it’s often poverty that leads to these addictions.
Others, such as a person struggling with diabetes, may still receive assistance, which they’ll use to buy sugar-filled foods. The issue is that the stigma behind addiction has led Israel, as a society, to push addicts away and assume that if one stint in rehab didn’t work, the addict’s life cannot be turned around.
Customized solutions have been found to offer an effective rate of 98% or higher when dealing with addiction.
But funding a one-size-fits-all solution is not working out well for addicts. The rate of relapse is too high, and there’s little that the people of Israel can do aside from promoting and encouraging change on the government level.
A quick look at the issues in Gaza Strip are enough to realize why drug addiction is rising. There are high unemployment rates and little hope for a better life. Residents are turning to painkillers and narcotics as a result.
Statistics in the area are not available, but with a 45% unemployment rate for young men, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of drug users reside in Gaza.
Military courts in Hamas have been cracking down on the issue, sentencing four drug smugglers to death. Raids are ongoing, with the area overrun with Tramadol, a powerful opiate that is readily available.
Families are often fearful of seeking treatment in Gaza because of the scandals that occur in Gaza. Conservatists often shun these individuals, and this leads to abusers not seeking treatment because they don’t want to tarnish their family names.
Discreet treatment options are often sought, with many addicts avoiding treatment specialists because of the stigma we impose on them.