Over 66,000 seek addiction treatment in early 2024: Drug Control Fund

Ahram Online , Thursday 6 Jun 2024

During the first five months of 2024, from January to May 2024, 66,147 patients (new and follow-up cases) sought addiction treatment and counselling services via the hotline of Egypt’s National Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction “16023.”

Nevine Al-Qabbaj.
Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine Al-Qabbaj.

 

This came in a report reviewed Thursday by the Minister of Social Solidarity and Chairperson of the National Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction Nevine El-Qabbaj.

According to the report, those seeking treatment and counselling included 8,208 patients from developed areas (alternatives to slums) such as Al-Asmarat, Al-Mahrousa, Rawdat Al-Sudan, Rawdat Al-Sayeda, Ahalina, Istabl Antar, Bashayer Al-Kheir, October Gardens, Al-Khayala, and Al-Dhahiya in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, and Port Said.

The services included follow-up calls, counselling, treatment, rehabilitation, and community reintegration. These treatment services are provided to patients for free and according to international standards.

The percentage of males receiving these services was 96.62 percent, while females constituted 3.38 percent, indicating increased trust among women in the hotline's confidentiality and the effective treatment.

Patients visited the treatment centres affiliated with the fund and partnered with the hotline "16023." These centres now amount to 30 in 19 governorates.

The minister of social solidarity added that the hotline received the most calls from Cairo governorate, accounting for 30.53 percent of callers, followed by Giza Governorate at 16.79 percent.

This is due to the high population density, ease of contact, and proximity to the fund's centres.

The internet was the most common way people learned about the addiction hotline "16023," thanks to awareness efforts through the fund’s official Facebook page. Television, news sites, and other media outlets came next.

Amr Othman, assistant minister of social solidarity and director of the fund, explained that the analysis of the data of those who received treatment services during the first five months of 2024 showed that the patients receiving treatment began abusing substances at an early age.

Furthermore, the data showed that 15.81 percent of patients started using substances between the ages of 15 and 20, 38.23 percent between 21 and 30, and 37.93 percent between 31 and 40.

Beneficiaries commonly abused substances such as cannabis, heroin, and synthetic drugs -- Strox, Voodoo, powder, Shabu, and tramadol. Some of them even used multiple substances.

The calls came mostly from patients themselves. Other calls were, however, made by the patients' mothers and siblings, which indicates increased family awareness of early signs of addiction, thus motivating individuals to seek treatment.

Othman added that the primary factors driving substance use, according to hotline results, include bad company, curiosity, family problems, family disintegration, misconceptions about solving health problems, perceived enhancement of sexual performance, and the pursuit of pleasure.

On the other hand, the factors motivating patients to seek treatment included health deterioration, family issues, fear for children, the death of a relative, financial inability, work problems, family pressures, societal stigma, and low academic performance.

Other motivations for seeking treatment include psychological problems, the desire to improve one's image, thinking about the future, and experiencing an accident due to drugs.

Othman further noted that the hotline "16023" continues to receive calls from any employee using drugs, providing free and confidential treatment services as long as the individual voluntarily seeks treatment. He added that those seeking treatment voluntarily will not face any legal consequences. On the contrary, if an employee who abuses substances has not submitted voluntarily to treatment before a drug testing campaign at their workplace, legal measures will be taken, Othman affirmed.

Short link: