Turkey’s top religious body has been helping drug and alcohol addicts receiving treatment by sending them to umrah, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has said.
According to the head of the parliament’s Health Commission and Struggle against Drugs Commission, Vural Kavuncu, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) aims to provide spiritual guidance to those trying to get rid of their addictions.
As part of the spiritual guidance service, Diyanet has been taking addicts rehabilitating in Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Centers (AMATEM) to Mecca to perform umrah with their doctors, Kavuncu told daily Milliyet on Aug. 2.
According to Kavuncu, religious officials have received training from Diyanet and Turkey’s Green Crescent (Yeşilay) as part of a program developed for the struggle against addictions. The program was designed in cooperation with the Family and Social Policies Ministry to make sure youth recover from their addictions while also instill religious and moral values in them.
Religious officials who received training on the issue have been carrying out spiritual rehabilitation and are working to encourage youth with addictions apply to AMATEMs, Kavuncu said.
He also gave information about the number of AMATEMs in Turkey, saying that 17 new centers will be opened in addition to the already functioning 44.
Saying that authorities are aiming to reduce the risk of youth becoming addicted to drugs once again after recovery, Kavuncu noted that they are trying to provide them with a profession and a hobby for the social adaptation process to work well. Social adaptation centers are offering their services in four provinces for this purpose.
The deputy said the most significant project they’ve been working on is the structuring of the social adaptation process.
“Addiction treatment is a long process. The return of the patients to their old social environments poses the risk of substance abuse once again. The efforts that will be carried out in the social adaptation process and providing them a job as well as a hobby reduces the risk of the patient using drugs again,” Kavuncu said.
During the interview, Kavuncu advised parents to become involved actively in the treatment process.
“The responsibility that falls on parents is to spend quality time with their children and support them,” he said.
The number of Children and Teenage Substance Addiction Research and Treatment Centers (ÇEMATEM) are also on the rise, according to Kavuncu, as their capacity is also increasing.
“We increased the number of bed capacity to 1,019 from 704. By spreading the social adaptation centers, we decreased the duration of the appointments to three to four weeks on average from nearly six months. Despite this, our efforts to increase the number of treatment centers is going on at full speed,” he added.