Hamas blames Israel and Palestinian Authority for Gaza drug problem

The Gaza Strip has as many as 150,000 drug addicts and not a single place for rehabilitation.

Several kilograms of synthetic drugs found in sneakers (photo credit: TAX AUTHORITY)
Several kilograms of synthetic drugs found in sneakers
(photo credit: TAX AUTHORITY)
The number of drug addicts in Gaza has reached approximately 150,000, according to reports. The main culprit according to Hamas, however, is Israel.
The drugs typically come in through Egypt and other locations, rewarding smugglers with large profits. A doctor in the region defined the problem as “a threat to our people.” Channel 13 has cited a number of reasons they’ve found that explain why so many young people turn to drugs: desperation, unemployment, the continued fighting with Israel, the lack of hope, the desire to dream and be somewhere else instead of a cold, complex and disappointing reality.
Humanitarian organizations have warned that the situation is out of control, as there is not a single rehabilitation center in the entire Gaza Strip, nor a single institute with the purpose of helping people cease taking drugs.
The only facility available – known as “the rehabilitation center” – is a temporary structure where addicts are placed with no professional supervision, and are just told “don’t use drugs.”
Those who are addicted to drugs are considered infidels, as their use is forbidden by Hamas’ Islamic rule. Those who use drugs are shunned by society and if they are interviewed by the media, always have their faces covered out of fear that they would be hurt, as well as a general feeling of shame.
Hamas blamed the drug problem on Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The head of the war on drugs in Gaza proclaimed “we will act without mercy against the traders and distributors.” Occasionally, Hamas runs an operation to neutralize drug smuggling and arrest users. These operations are usually filmed and aired on the organization’s network, as to sow fear in those who watch them.
Punishments for being caught using drugs range from life in jail all the way to a death sentence.