Saudi Arabia: 1,000 divorces in two months because of rising drug abuse

4th Mar 2014


By Nadim Al-Hamid

Jeddah, (Arab News): Addicted to drugs and alcohol, men are divorcing wives, with 1,000 of such incidents taking place in Jeddah only, over the past two months, said a judge on Monday.

Expressing his concern about the situation, Yahya bin Fahm Al-Sulami, a judge at the District Court for Guarantees and Marriage Contracts, told Arab News, the government should introduce compulsory drug testing for anyone who wants to get married in the Kingdom.

Many parents in Jeddah agree that there should be mandatory testing of men who want to marry their daughters. They say there has been an increasing number of young people abusing drugs in the city.

Hana’ Ahmed, a student at King Abdulaziz University, said she is about to marry and demanded that her suitor undergo drug tests.

“I just want a normal, happy marriage,” she said. She said drug testing should be compulsory for all men wanting to marry. This would help couples live decent and normal lives, she said.

Um Ashwaq, a government employee, agreed that there should be mandatory testing. “My marriage was a failure because soon after I married, I found out that my husband was addicted to drugs. My life was a living hell because he used to beat me when he was under the influence.”

“Everyone used to ridicule him because of his actions when he was on drugs. I asked the court to give me the right to divorce him because of that.” She said her former husband had smoked large quantities of hashish.

Suad Al-Harbi, an employee at a private firm, said she was sure that most men would not get married if the Ministry of Health made drug testing mandatory. She said that many people in Jeddah, including women and girls, are on drugs. “Everyone in Jeddah is talking about drug addiction. The Ministry of Health should make drug testing mandatory, along with tests for Aids, for anyone wanting to get married. This will hopefully reduce divorces.” Al-Harbi said many of her friends got divorced recently because their husbands were addicted to narcotic substances.

Fatimah Muhammad, a social worker, said drug testing must be made compulsory for young men. She said many young people in Jeddah are addicted to some form of drug. Muhammad said men addicts are “violent and unreasonable” towards their wives and children. “His influence may also see other family members becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.” She said government should take action because addiction threatens “our community and families.”


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