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Drug Addiction in Lebanon

Posted last November 1, 2012, 3:59 am in Health report article


Addiction in Lebanon....


Addiction has rapidly escalated to become the number one psychiatric illness in Lebanon. Psychiatric wards are crowded by addicts that are admitted for detoxification, a process during which the addict stops using drugs and is treated by medications to allow him to decrease the withdrawal syndrome that occurs upon cessation of the drug, a syndrome that is often responsible of a relapse of his addiction. This is especially true for opiates and opioids (morphine, heroin, Tramal, Dolosal, Codeine) that produce a physical withdrawal syndrome characterized by the presence of severe pain and muscle aches which are often responsible of inducing relapse since the addict cannot tolerate the excruciating pain that does not respond to the classical pain killers. It is only by specific medications that we are able to control this withdrawal syndrome.

In the vast majority of cases of addiction in Lebanon, the first compounds used contain cannabis (hash, marijuana), whose active substance is known as THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol). This drug is smoked as “joints” and has a very characteristic smell resembling burnt incense. With many controversies regarding it, cannabis is often considered a “soft” drug given the relative absence of a true physical withdrawal syndrome, a fact that destigmatizes its use and makes people often consider as a “cigarette with a twist”. In fact this is totally wrong and cannabis has numerous negative effects on the body and is often the “gateway drug” that opens the gate of addiction to the people taking it.


What is the substance of preference for addicts in Lebanon?

The most accurate answer would be heroin (which scientific name is Diacetylmorphine). Snorted, inhaled or injected straight to the bloodstream via the veins, this substance is very addicting, ranking just after nicotine (“normal” cigarettes) in the addicting potential with rates of addiction reaching as high as 23% with the first use of the substance (whereas this percent is 32% in the case of nicotine). The reason lying behind this, besides the fact that the physical withdrawal of heroin is impossible to survive without medical help and is the main reason why even the most motivated of addicts who want to stop heroin on their own almost always fail to succeed, would be the easy access to the substance: heroin is very available in Lebanon due to the relative proximity to the countries of production, causing a relatively “low” price of heroin compared to other substances such as cocaine (1 gram of heroin in Lebanon is 5 times cheaper than 1 gram of cocaine).



To learn more about addiction,, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, eating disorders, somatoform disorders, and other psychiatry topics and real life clinical cases,  visit my website: or Contact Us for consultation: 00961- 3- 210978