Malaysia mosque offers hope to drug addicts

Health experts want unique programme to be replicated across the conservative Muslim country.

    Muslim men in Malaysia are most at risk for HIV transmitted through intravenous drug use.A zero-tolerance national drug policy and conservative religious leaders make addressing the issue difficult, but a pilot programme at one mosque is making headway.

    The Ar-Rahman mosque in Kuala Lumpur offers free drug-replacement therapy by providing addicts methadone in place of heroin. Health experts want the practice - the first such programme in the world - to be replicated throughout Malaysia, but some religious leaders consider replacement drugs like methadone to be just as religiously forbidden as the substances they intend to take the place of.

    Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reports from Kuala Lumpur where after, completing their ritual prayers, worshippers will go upstairs to submit to a urine test and receive treatment for what is becoming a growing national problem.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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