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Substance abuse in Egypt double international levels

Cocaine [file photo]
Cocaine [file photo]

Some 10.4 per cent of Egyptians use illicit drugs, double the international average, the head of a drugs rehabilitation hotline setup by the country’s Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA) said.

Ahmed El-Kettani added that there are now 22 rehabilitation centres in the country to tackle the problem

The international rate stands at approximately four to give per cent of the population, head of the Preventative Programme at FDCTA, Ibrahim Askar added.

He pointed out that the problem in Egypt is substance abuse rather than addiction, adding that abuse is an early stage of addiction.

In April 2018, Egypt launched an initiative to reduce drug usage among school bus drivers after it was found that all 56 drivers who had been reported for suspected drug use by parents in the first semester of the academic year, failed to pass a drugs test.

Tramadol is the most popular drug among users, followed by cannabis and heroin. The usage of Tramadol, in particular, has surged since 2010, with many attributing the rise to the difficult economic situation the country is facing and a sense of hopelessness amongst the youth.

READ: Egypt approves death penalty for drug dealers

Drugs enter Egypt from South Asia, usually via sea and airports, and are then distributed across the North Africa region and into Europe. Drug trafficking in Egypt is also a core activity of transnational organised crime networks.

International football player Mohammed Salah helped raise the number of Egyptians who are seeking help for drug addiction to 116,500 last year after he appeared in an advert urging people to “Say NO to drugs”.

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