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Faith groups combat drugs

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-05-08

Drugsline event

Drugsline event

A helpline for ethnic and religious minorities to get support in dealing with drugs has been launched under the auspices of the Jewish-founded Drugsline project.

The east London organisation announced that following recent funding from Redbridge Council, it will expand its Joining the Loop Partnership - a Jewish and Muslim crisis line - to include support in Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu.

“I was recently visited by a religious Muslim man who was seeking advice about drugs  – out of respect I asked him why he didn’t go to his Imam and he said it would cause too much pain and shame to his family – a strikingly similar situation to that which occurs within the Jewish community," said Drugsline founder Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin.

"Neither culture, nor religion nor class protects individuals from the dangers of drug abuse. This Partnership will give people access to support from trained volunteers who fully understand the sensitivities of their culture" Rabbi Sufrin added.

At a special event to mark the launch, local Imam Haroon Rashid Patel said: "I am so honoured to be here surrounded by people with a common and united cause – we are trying very, very hard, and we cannot do everything, but at least we are doing something."

David Burrows, MP for Enfield, Southgate outlined his support for the project and in seeking ways to expand it: "Drugsline specialises in building effective and sustained relationships with those that need help and it is time to provide them with more of a voice and further resources."

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