Showing the way: Egypt shares drug control experiences with Jordan

Nesmahar Sayed , Thursday 28 Oct 2021

Jordanian delegation visits FDCTA to learn about Egypt’s experience in reducing demand on drugs.

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Jordanian delegation visits FDCTA to learn about Egypt’s experience in reducing demand on drugs. Jordan praises the Ministry of Social Solidarity model for economic empowerment of recovered drug addicts and their reintegration into society. Amr Osman presents the work of FDCTA on drug abuse prevention, and free and confidential treatment of drug addicts.

A delegation from Jordan visited the Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA) to boost cooperation in the treatment of drug addiction and awareness programmes, and benefit from Egypt’s experience in combating drug abuse. FDCTA is chaired by Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine Al-Qabaj. The delegation hoped to learn from the FDCTA’s expertise in cutting the demand on drugs.

The delegation, which included representatives from Jordan’s ministries of health, interior, and civil society, as well as the head of Jordan Anti-Drugs Society, discussed cooperation between the two countries. They also focused on the key role FDCTA plays in addressing the issue of drug abuse from all angles, especially since full care is provided to addiction patients and are reintegrated into society after receiving free and confidential treatment.

FDCTA Director Amr Osman, who is also assistant to the minister of social solidarity, presented to the Jordanian delegation the Fund’s contribution to the national campaign for combating drugs and the current status of the problem. Osman further reviewed the awareness campaigns underway at schools, universities and other arenas about the vices of drugs, in order to educate about the dangers of smoking and drug abuse in all its forms. Also, treating addicts at the FDCTA’s specialised centres and hospitals partnering with Hotline 16023. Today, there are 27 centres in 17 governorates, which is more than double the 12 centres available in 2014. By 2025, there will be treatment centres across the country, in every governorate.

At the same time, recovered addicts are reintegrated into society by receiving loans to assist them in starting small businesses, in cooperation with Nasser Social Bank. There are also early detection campaigns for school bus drivers which has decreased drug abuse among this category to 1.7 per cent last year, down from 12 per cent in 2017.

Osman conveyed minister’s regards to the Jordanian delegation, asserting the Ministry’s keen interest in cooperating with Jordan and transferring the FDCTA’s know-how in awareness and prevention campaigns. Also, how to economically empower recovered addicts through post-treatment services, allowing them to reintegrate into society as productive individuals.

The Jordanian delegation praised the FDCTA’s contribution to Egypt’s national anti-drug policies, and its creative awareness campaigns. These include “You Are Stronger Than Drugs”, aiming to target youth and protect them from falling under the spell of addiction. The campaign recruited influential figures, most notably international soccer player Mohamed Salah who is a striker on Egypt’s national team and Liverpool FC. A more recent campaign focused on young men and women, and quadrupled the call volume to the drug Hotline 16023.

Osman also briefed them about the Fund’s Hotline 16023, how operators receive calls from addicts and their families, and direct them to free and confidential treatment.

Last month a delegation from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime visited the FDCTA to learn from Egypt’s experience in treating and rehabilitating drug addicts, and create awareness campaigns against drugs. They planned to relay and implement this model to Iraq.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 28 October, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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