Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Not only do we have an addiction treatment center in Kuwait, but its actually so good that addicts from other GCC countries come to Kuwait to get treated here. Recently through a friend, I managed to find out a lot about our treatment facility, and I was so impressed I decided I’d share what I learned.

If you have a drug problem, the first thing you need to do is admit yourself into the KFH Addiction Treatment Center in Shuwaikh [Map]. You go to the reception and you ask to see the doctor (they don’t admit on Fridays). The doctor will ask you a few questions including what substances you use and you will also be administered a drug test. After this first step is completed, you’ll be admitted.

As part of the admittance process you will be given a full body search to make sure you don’t have any drugs on you. You can check-in your belongings before admittance and you can also put money on your account in case during your stay you need to purchase something from the baqala like cigarettes since money isn’t allowed inside the center. Once you admit yourself into the center, you can’t leave for 21-28 days.

The treatment facility is for everyone including expats. Until recently, it was also free for everyone but with the new health fees, expats now have to pay a fee per day.

During your stay at the treatment center, doctors will check up on you often. There are also different workshops and lectures that take place there for example, there are lectures on recovery, lectures on how to deal with negative thoughts and lectures on judgment errors and what they are. In addition to the lectures, there are also group therapy sessions that take place. All the lectures are given by therapists with a few exceptions where doctors give the lectures themselves. Every Tuesday there are also sessions for family members called “Tawasal”. These sessions allow the parents to understand and cope with family members who are in there for treatment.

It is important to state here that your medical file with the treatment center is not shared with any other party and remains with the center. So your admittance won’t pop up when applying for a job or anything of the sort.

After around 21 to 28 days you’ll be able to check out of the center. They then highly recommend you stay in a halfway house which is a temporary living arrangement for people suffering addiction. The halfway houses are run by recovering addicts who are helping other addicts stay clean. Unlike the addiction center, there are no nurses or doctors here and you’re allowed to leave at any time you want. But, if you decide to become a resident at a halfway house, there are rules to abide by. There are rules like having to wake up early, having to clean your room, do some house chores and also signing in and out throughout the day. The rules meant to provide structure for the addicts who at this point don’t have any.

The halfway houses also provide group therapy sessions and are where the addicts are introduced to the 12 Steps of NA, the Narcotics Anonymous program. The program is essential to recovery once they leave, it becomes part of their lives and they keep at it after they leave the halfway house to stay clean. Even though you’re allowed to leave the halfway house anytime you want, the recommendation is that you work through the NA program. Part of the program is choosing a sponsor and attending external NA meetings. I attended a meeting with my friend as support and was completely taken away by it. I attended an English NA meeting and there were around 30 guys and girls from different age groups and backgrounds. It’s difficult to put into words what I felt, but it was very emotional. Once a week they meet up with other people who are going through the same things they are going through, even though most of them don’t know each other, they all still connect on a very personal level and I found that to be so beautiful.

Once you work your way through the NA steps and reach step 5, and you’ve got your external affairs in order, that is when it is recommended that you graduate from the halfway house. There is no specific timeframe to reach this step, some people have been able to do it in 3-4 months, others have taken 1 to 2 years. The average is around 1 year.

So that is basically it. I was so surprised at the quality of support addicts have here in Kuwait I really wanted to write about it. I think what surprised me the most is the understanding and sophistication involved from the government on this subject. I assumed because this is Kuwait, addicts would be treated like criminals and arrested, but instead, the government understands that addiction is a complex disease that can be treated. It’s instances like this that make me really appreciate Kuwait sometimes.

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39 comments, add your own...

  1. Crumble says:

    Is this new? Up till recently they would send addicts to a ward of the psych hospital.

  2. Kuwait says:

    From your description, it seems there is no religious brain wash involved, which is good.

  3. ex-addict says:

    FYI Mark, 1st for sure they will share your file whatever your case is specially if you work in military or ministry of interior. 2nd they don’t give you medicine for withdrawal symptoms. 3rd the addict can decide himself leave anytime without the approval of someone else like parents or family.

    • Halfway Resident says:

      Dear “ex addict”

      As a current resident of the halfway house and someone who has been in treatment in Kuwait numerous times I’m sorry to tell u that u are misinformed. If you go into treatment as a self admittance with no prior cases against u involving drugs or debt then there will be no indication of ur addmitance into treatment with the moi that will interfere with ur life if u try to apply to a job in the future or undertake any legal matters. However I don’t know what the procedure is like for moi employees or if ur in the military. Also they do provide meds for withdrawal especially for heroin addicts.. Which is a hotly contested issue in and of itself.

      • x-152 says:

        Dear halfway Resident,

        What is the rquirement for someone that works? does one have to quit his job to recieve treatment? Or can they provide a medical leave? Do you have to disclose the reason? How does it work?

        • Halfway Resident says:

          You do not have to quit your job to go into treatment. The center does in fact give u medical leave and periodic “still in treatment” papers for work throughout ur stay and will continue to do so if u opt to go into the halfway house. People with jobs can generaly go back to work within 3 months or even sooner upon agreement with the doctors. The papers will not state that you are a drug addict but will have a letterhead and stamp that reads “addiction treatment center”.

          Those are the facts… Now my personal experience: As I’ve stated before I have gone into treatment several times while I was working… Confidentiality was EXTREMELY important to me… One of my biggest fears was people finding out about my situation… Especially at work… One of the ways I attempted to keep things under wraps and explain the letter head and stamp to the HR dept is claiming that my personal psyichiatrist who previously worked at the psych center was transferred to the addiction center and had me admitted there so I can be under his supervision for “psychological issue”… The doctor even went as far to list the reason for admittance to the center as “bipolar psychosis” based on my request. Whether that was in fact credible for the HR department or not they seemed to accept it.

          When I went in for treatment this last time I had hit my own personal rock bottom and was done with it all… Especially the lying… I came to realize that my previous attempts at recovery had always been cut short because I felt like I needed to go back to work and get my life started again… After over 10 years of suffering I was not willing to make the same mistakes again. Coupled with the fact that I was now working in the private sector that is alot more strict in terms of extended absence, I made the personal decision to tender my resignation and focus solely on recovery without having the incessant worry of a job that I had left behind. I realize not everyone has the luxury of doing this but that is what worked for me and now I am 1 month away from celebrating 1 year of sobriety.

          Hope this helps

          • 3azeez says:

            I once submitted my marriage certificate to HR on the 4th floor.

            As soon as I got to my desk on the 1st floor my phone started ringing… a lady from the 6th floor called to congratulate me!

            Fast forward 7 years later…

            I submit to HR my leave of absence request, few hours later my exwife has full detail of the situation.

            Bottom line, anything goes into your file is public even if it wasn’t supposed to.

            However, seeking treatment is nothing to be embarrassed about. If anything it shows that you’re a person with strong will and active towards bettering yourself. If you lose an opportunity because of this, rest assured there is something better waiting.

          • Just says:

            Halfway Resident, congratulations on your soon to come 1 year sobriety! Hats off to you champ!

          • khaled says:

            you are a brave and strong, congrats, thank you for sharing your experience, Mark too about this topic

          • abraham says:

            Good for you @Halfway Resident!
            May you inspire others..

      • ex-addict says:

        Man i got rid of 2 years heroin/hash/benzos… you name it… habit after my decision to join Alrasheed hospital in Jordan. They gave me methadone for 10 days which is the best option and is not available in KFH center and I still got minor withdrawal symptoms. I never heard anything positive about KFH center. For heroin they give you something to stick it in your mouth and barely do anything specially if you’re addicted to high doses (mine was .25-.5 gram/day and sometimes full bag of heroin).

        I wish they provide the best option for addicts because we have serious problem in Kuwait! thanks god i’m clean for almost a year now :D

        • Addict Q8 says:

          I was on the exact same road! Went into the addiction center here and it was a total fail. I was on so mang drugs my main drug of choice being heroin. All the gave me was some shitty allergy pills to help me sleep which did absolutely nothing. I suffered so badly from wthdrawals and i only saw the dr once who was also a piece of shit who sat on his chair and judged me…. my family discharged me 2 weeks later, i didn’t complete my 21 day stay. No doubt i relapsed and got in trouble with the law for the first time ever but luckily they let me go and 2 days later off to Jordan i went and the treatment there was excellent. I stayed there for 6 months.

          I’m writing this 3 years after i left Jordan and i still struggle with my addiction. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but still i relapse on and off.

          • Ex-addict says:

            Man you gotta take a life decision and just think of yourself. If you really want to stay clean for your remaining life try do the following:
            1- stay away from your addicted friends and never see them again even if they’re life long friends!
            2- change your phone number and cell phone this is very important (you must also get rid of all bad druggie numbers, fucking dealers and jail members)
            3- change your other personal things like your car.
            4- stay away from any place that related to your drug habit.
            5- unscheduled drug tests from someone you trust and dont want to loose him.

            man i know exactly how hard it is but you can do it bro.

            Good luck and stay positive!

  4. Mu says:

    Now this is great .. I know for sure that Special Needs School in Kuwait also are getting students from other GCC countries.

  5. zaydoun says:

    A beautiful, emotional and uplifting post

  6. Buzz says:

    The main reason we have a significant drug problem here in Kuwait is we have no booze legally. That is why the U.A.E. doesn’t have a drug problem to this extent, it’s just us and Saudi. In Dubai, if you want get a buzz, you just go to the nearest pub and have a pint or two. Here, people take pills and shit because it’s much cheaper than a case of Heineken. Our government is exacerbating this problem by making booze illegal.

    • Mark says:

      As a high school student it was also a lot easier to obtain and hide. You could hide a piece of hash in your wallet and you could buy as small as a piece as you could afford. Alcohol was always a lot more expensive, you can’t hide a bottle from your parents and if you got drunk they’d smell it on your breath.

    • khaled says:

      please don’t, simplify the issue

    • Kuwait says:

      Although I’m all for legalizing alcohol, your explanation is a very naïve one. It may play a very small part for some individuals, but it cannot and never will be a main reason for addiction.

    • Farah says:

      That is the silliest single explanation of a deep-rooted problem I’ve ever heard. Let’s ignore people who have gone through traumatic issues, who suffer from PTSD, who have no real outlet to cope with their problems because of family/society…
      …and let’s just blame it on alcohol not being legal in Kuwait.
      I pray you never go through a drug-related problem so people with your mindset won’t trivialize your pain.

  7. Omg says:

    I love reading this blog and always come here to get updates on everything Kuwait, but this is the worst and most ill-informed piece I have ever seen here. Please for the love of god don’t send anyone you love to this place. Anyone who has ever dealt with it firsthand knows that the addicts going in come out worse than before. This is a known fact and a joke among addicts in Kuwait. If you go in for pill popping you’re going to come out 1) Still on drugs because they are smuggled inside the facility easily 2) addicted to a harder substance than started with 3) with a list of new dealer contacts from your recent made “friends” in the centre. Nothing, I mean NOTHING good comes from the rehab facility in Kuwait. All addicts here know if you go to this place once, you will be back 2-3 times more. The workers inside say “see you later” knowing you got no help or will relapse once you’re out in the free world again. So if you or someone you know has a problem, by god get them out of Kuwait and admitted in England or some western place with a real program. No legitimate rehab even takes less than a month. And yes in Kuwait they do force religion on you during therapy. I can’t believe anyone would write about Kuwait rehab. It’s a bloody joke. If you want your loved one to die of their addiction then sure let them do rehab in Kuwait. —-love, someone that had to deal with this place more times than you can count

    • Halfway Resident says:

      I HAVE experienced this place first hand and still reside in the halfway house at the moment. I understand where you are coming from and I am sorry you had such a hard time in treatment here. As a matter of fact I personally have had some realy difficult times in the center as well in the past but I can assure u that the post is NOT misinformed. The post does not claim that the center is the best in the world… It is,however, one of the best in the region. Is the staff very professional? No… They are rough and cynical as u said and I personaly have heard that “see u later” line.. But guess what? They did see me later… And thats on me not them… Are there groups that center around religion? Yes… But what do expect from a governtment instituion in a muslim country? Many addicts have found recovery through faith and new found religeon across the world… While this route is not for me personaly, I would never want to deny someone else the benefit of recovery in the way that suits them. The center does however stress the importance of and endorses the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program above anything else as it has proven its effectiveness world wide.

      As to the 3 points that u raised abut drugs being smuggled inside and ppl getting addicted to harder substances and making new “connections”… That is all true and I have seen it happen. However that happens in treatment centers around the world… U have to remember that only 20% of addicts actualy stay clean… Most never will… And relapse is a part of recovery. As addicts we are masters of manipulation and will stop at nothing to get what we want in the end. If an addict is not ready for recovery, no treatment center in the world will ever be able to help. Once an addict admits complete defeat by the disease of addiction and is ready to surrender and go to any lengths to stay clean THAT is when the miracle of recovery takes hold… The treatment facility itself at that point becomes irrelevant.

      I have been to the best centers in the world and have relapsed the very next day after leaving because I was not ready. But once I reached my personal breaking point I took myself into the local treatment center and because of my surrender and work in the NA program I am closing in on a year clean.

      I would still say that if u have the money and are willing to send ur loved one abroad for treatment like my family has done numerous times for me… By all means do it. Just know that u are paying for luxury… Which is very sweet… But recovery is not meant to be luxurious or gentle or kind… Its hard and painful… And all that money will mean nothing if the addict is not willing to face his or her personal pain.

    • 3azeez says:

      ” The workers inside say “see you later” knowing you got no help or will relapse once you’re out in the free world again.”

      That is why the half way houses are important I guess.

    • Addict Q8 says:

      Can’t agree on this more. I experienced the same thing.

  8. fajer says:

    wasnt it a few months ago on instgaram where a video circulating of cops waiting right outside the gates to arrest people

    • x-123 says:

      Can you please elaborate on this? like they were waiting to identify addicts and arrest them?? is that legal if the addiction center keeps it confidential?

  9. 3azeez says:

    I can’t even remember the last time I read something really interesting and useful on this blog!

    Really good post. Thank you (and my apologies for being frank).

  10. Mishal F A Abul says:

    Kuwait has the highest drug addicts per capita in the GCC so it better have the best facility. There is still a bad problem in Kuwait with drugs since its so cheap & alcohol prices have skyrocketed.

  11. M says:

    which/where is the church building mentioned for open sessions if someone has to attend?

  12. Reader says:

    what an amazing post. could not stop reading. thank you

  13. A the cyclist says:

    Thanks Mark! This is something new for me! Good luck for your friend tho.

    Are there any way to make this post like sticky topics in forums please? I mean it is very important post for everyone, addicts or anyone knows an addict doesn’t know how to help him.

    • Mark says:

      Well my google ranking is pretty high so now if anybody searches for drug treatment in kuwait, my post is like the second or third result so it will be easy to find

  14. Michelle says:

    Hi Mark, came across this post on Google.

    I need help with someone who is suffering from alcohol addiction. Does this center support alcohol withdrawal treatment or do I need to approach the hospital first for treatment and then get the person registered to this center?

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