Drug addiction is no small matter with the world fighting the war on drugs for years, and the Middle East isn’t any different, but things have been hard in some countries, such as Kuwait, where a couple decided to take action to help others in need of saving. When they found little help when they had an issue of their own, they took steps to help other Kuwaitis in their battle.
Enter our two protagonists, Ahmed Al-Eisa and his wife Suhare Al-Mahmoud, a couple who couldn’t find assistance for a family member struggling with substance abuse during a tumultuous moment in their lives. A moment that pushed them to create their private center to help those who might be in a similar situation, but it didn’t happen without challenges.
You might be asking yourself, “why did they have to create a new center when they could have just gone to the government-funded ones?” which is a valid question, however, things aren’t as simple since there are so many factors at play here, the first of which is the stigma that’s associated with substance abuse within the country, even though it’s a well-known problem plaguing Kuwait. Another factor, according to The National, is the country’s limited space for those in need of rehabilitation and their short treatment period.
“Then why not travel abroad to a well-known rehab center in another region like the UK?” is another valid question, however, Al Mahmoud revealed that the situation felt awkward due to the difference in cultural and traditional norms.
“Even sending my relative to London to get the help he needed and get treatment didn’t work. The centers outside of the region couldn’t possibly begin to comprehend the societal and cultural variables — ingrained in a more Muslim and more traditional culture — that may play into this unhealthy relationship between an addict and their addiction,” Al-Mahmoud told The National.
What Did They Do Then?
We return to their rise to prominence and the main reason behind this highlight, as the couple created several rehabilitation centers named “AlMostakbale” in Alexandria, Egypt, to help Kuwaiti citizens, expats from the country, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals fighting drug addiction.
Yes, Egypt, not Kuwait seeing that the government rejected their request for a private rehab center stating the already existing government ones were sufficient.
“The government insisted there was no need for a private clinic or center when there was a government-funded one,” Al-Mahmoud told The National.
There were also several benefits to choosing Alexandria over Kuwait, the first of which is privacy, as patients weren’t going to run into someone who knows them, avoiding the stigma in the process. Other benefits include the great weather, the calm people, experienced Egyptian doctors, and because the cultural norms are respected and known there since they’re both from the same region.
“Alexandria seemed like a good fit. The nature of the people is calmer here, the place is calmer, a perfect place for people undergoing symptoms of withdrawal, which is usually the state we receive outpatients [in],” said Al-Mahmoud.
The couple were able to expand and open several centers also in Egypt, and eventually a small center in Kuwait, for former patients to get follow-up consultations and check-ups so they wouldn’t relapse.
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