Jews and Muslims share drug advice

Drugsline is planning to run the first UK helpline that caters for both Jewish and Muslim communities simultaneously.

The east London-based charity is expecting to secure local authority funding for a substance misuse intervention service that will cater for Redbridge's Jewish and Muslim populations.

Paul Goggins, minister for the voluntary sector, attended the launch of the bid. According to a spokeswoman for the charity, he has promised to raise awareness of it within government.

Although Drugsline is non-denominational, Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, the director of the charity, is Jewish. He said he realised that Jewish communities share many of the same cultural taboos about drugs as Muslims, and set about establishing links with the Imam Haroon Rashid Patel, local Muslim group QALB - a day centre for people with mental health issues - and the League of British Muslims, which provides advice to local Asian residents.

Sufrin said: "Not only will the proposed partnership add value to the existing work we do, but it will also enable us to provide bespoke services to parts of the community in which drug and alcohol addiction are often taboo. The need for a joined-up approach is central - this proposal will address the needs of Muslim and Jewish communities."

The charity has been keen to involve as many local groups as possible, and a recent stakeholder forum was attended by local councillors, MPs, police officers, teachers, doctors and faith leaders.

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