Notes on Drug Addiction


Definition of the addiction problem

Addiction can be to alcohol, tobacco, or psycho-active substances. It may also be addiction to habits, passions, and sins such as sex, sports, fame, food, or gambling. Other forms of addiction are to power, respect, and money.


Dependence and addiction

Drug dependence is of two types: physical dependence and psychological dependence. Addiction is inability to control use of a drug or enslavement to a habit (good or bad) through loss of self-control. Some forms of addiction are innately bad such as addiction to nicotine, addiction to drugs (alcohol, opiates, sedatives, marijuana, amphetamine, cocaine, and caffeine), addiction to gambling, and addiction to passions. Some forms of addiction start as habits and practices that are good innately but become bad due to excesses. This includes sports and food. The addiction process goes through various stages. It starts as a habit that becomes psychological dependence. It finally ends up as physiological dependence. Addiction has severe consequences. Addiction to intoxicants is prohibited because it nullifies the purpose of preserving intellect.  It leads to poor health, psychiatric complications, crime, and violation of ddiin.


Rulings about khamr

Khamr is defined in the Law as any substance that causes intoxication. Alcohol, tobacco, and other psychoactive drugs are not food but are khamr because they change or impair the mind. With an impaired mind and loss of control a human becomes an animal. Any thing that causes clouding of the mind is called khamr. Every intoxicant is prohibited. What intoxicates in large amounts is haram in small amounts. The term alcohol refers to one type of khamr. Khamr is the key to sins and evils. Taking khamr is likened to worshipping idols. The recompense of a drinker of khamr is hell. Iman temporarily disappears from a person at the moment of taking khamr. The salat of a user of khamr is not accepted. Khamr is not a cure but is a disease. Wide-spread drinking khamr is an indicator of the coming of the Last Day. Khamr has harms and benefits. The harms are predominant. The benefits are few and temporary. The harm of khamr lies in its effects on health and its associated sins. Some people call khamr by another name in order to make it halaal. The Law has several measures to control addiction to khamr. Manufacture, sale, and distribution of khamr are prohibited. Raw materials for making khamr should not be sold to a potential manufacturer.


Non-alcoholic drug addiction

Nicotine addiction is a type of drug addiction. Addiction to narcotics & sedatives starts as normal pharmacological use of the drugs and progresses to harmful addiction. Illicit drugs with no pharmacological benefit are addictive.


Prevention and treatment of drug abuse

The root of addiction is passion. Measures should be taken to stop antecedents to addiction on the basis that what to leads to haram is haram. While preventing addiction we should not forget to treat the victims of addiction. Internal measures of addiction control are strengthening iman, taqwa, ibadat, and dhikr. External measures of addiction control include education, good use of spare time, and good company. Rehabilitation of addicts starts with telling them to repent. If they refuse they should be isolated socially. Cognitive therapy is used to sure the addict understands the impact of addiction on health, wealth, and family life.



ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. June, 2008