JEDDAH — A recent report issued by the Ministry of Justice shows that 28 percent of narcotics cases being looked into in the Kingdom’s courts involve Saudi women while non-Saudi women form 68.1 percent of total women’s narcotics cases including trafficking, possession, smuggling and abuse.
According to the report, 24 expatriate women of different nationalities were involved in narcotics cases since Nov. 15 until last week. The nationalities most involved in narcotics crimes were Yemenis with 29.3 percent and Somalis with 23.9 percent followed by Indonesians.
A 22-year-old recovering drug addict who asked she only be identified by her initials, S.H., spoke of her ordeal of falling prey to a gang that trafficked drugs using women.
“I come from a broken home and I had a lot of issues growing up. I was hurt that my parents had separated and weren’t together. I also had a lot of restrictions placed on me. I constantly wished I were a boy so I could have more freedom. All of these issues made me weak and when a friend of mine who I sought comfort in gave me pills to ease the pain, I became hooked,” said S.H.
“They helped me escape my problems. I felt so relieved after taking them and had a lot of energy. But when the high wore off, I would sleep for two days straight. I didn’t know they were Captagon pills because I never had to buy them.
“My friend got them from other girls. Eventually, she convinced me to peddle the pills to other women. The situation didn’t continue like this for long as I was caught red-handed. The police told me I was a victim of a gang whose leader was my fake friend,” she added.
S.H. is currently in rehab and has vowed to fight her addiction and return to a normal life.
Riyadh topped 34 Saudi cities to record the most number of cases involving possession of narcotics. Makkah and Jeddah came in second and third respectively.
Meanwhile, excessive qat usage in Jazan and Abha increased the number of narcotics cases in both cities. The report showed the number of narcotic cases involving men was 41,000.
Saudis were involved in 23,946 cases and Yemenis formed the highest number of expatriates on trial for drug-related offenses with 6,833 cases followed by 673 cases involving Egyptian nationals.
In a report issued in 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said about 230 million people, equivalent to 5 percent of the world’s population, used narcotics at least once in 2010. The percentage of people who have problems related to narcotics that necessitate treatment makes up 6 percent of the world population (i.e. 270 million people).
The number of deaths resulting from drug addiction, particularly heroin and cocaine use, has reached 250,000 annually. The report said the world drug trade was worth an estimated $120 billion.
Dr. Fatima Muhammad Kaaki, consultant psychiatrist and head of the women’s section at Al-Amal Hospital in Jeddah, said there are no specific statistics on the number of female patients visiting the hospital’s clinics seeking treatment but their percentage is not small.
She said the type of narcotics common among women include hashish, stimulants, heroin, alcohol and cocaine.