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Parents "Cure" Addicted Son with Persian Gulf Vacation and Threat of Death


September-October 1997

The parents of a teenager with a reported £1000-a-week drug habit (roughly $1,600 a week) tricked their son into taking a "vacation" to the Persian Gulf, where they confiscated his passport, and forced him to spend a year in a country where drug dealers are beheaded (Nicholas Hellen, "Drug youth is cured in Gulf holiday trip," London Sunday Times, September 7, 1997, sec. 2, p. 1).

The youth had started experimenting with drugs while at boarding school. Eventually, he lost weight and abandoned his studies at Brunel University, according to the parents. After confirming that he was having drug-related problems, the mother and father offered the son and a friend a two week beach holiday in the Gulf. After they had arrived in the Gulf, the two young men realized their parents had decided to abandon them for a year in an environment known for its deadly hostility toward drug use. Reportedly, the son tried to find a drug dealer for six months, but finally settled down and accepted strict rules mandated by his parent, which included only drinking in designated areas, and no girlfriends. [Ironically, trafficking in and consumption of alcohol are serious offenses under Islamic law, sometimes punished by death. "What kind of mixed message" were these parents sending? -- EES]

The son is currently back home training for a job in retail management. "My son said the British system provides no deterrence. It is an absolute joke," the mother said. "As a committed Christian, I thank God for those countries which have kept themselves relatively drug-free. I wouldn't want young people I love to face the death penalty, but I have seen how fear works."