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Addiction. 2001 Jul;96(7):973-80.

Substance abuse policy and peace in the Middle East: a Palestinian and Israeli partnership.

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Israel Regional Alcohol and Drug Abuse Resources Center, Department of Social Work, Ben Gurion University, Israel.


This paper describes the working exchange between Israelis, Palestinians and international experts who engaged in a process to promote communications, cooperation and coordination of efforts directed toward peace as well as the prevention and treatment of drug abuse in the region. From 1997 to 1999, a program of training workshops and courses, drug prevention and treatment skills development and collaborative research was conducted on the basis of mutual respect and cooperation among Palestinians and Israelis. By tapping into the issue of substance abuse and by focusing on its professional and academic dimensions, this initiative engaged representative delegations of the police force, academia, treatment centers and various government ministries. While events of this period underscored the dependence of "bottom-up" peace initiatives on the prevailing political situation, the experience revealed the vital role of NGO frameworks in providing a safety net for promoting and sustaining relations as well as addressing an issue of common concern. This case study shows that addiction professionals, both clinicians and researchers, can be instrumental in conflict resolution as well as the prevention and treatment of drug abuse.

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