Solidarity ministry drives home dangers of drug use to Egypt’s students

Aya Salah , Monday 21 Aug 2023

Nearly all Egyptian students (99.3 percent) surveyed after taking a drug prevention programme organized by the government said they had become more aware of the substantial danger of drug use.

drug prevention program
Photo of students carrying a flyer of the "You're Stronger Than Drugs" media campaign. Source: FDCTA

 

The prevention programme, the largest of its kind in schools in Egypt, was implemented by the Ministry of Education and Technical Education and the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

The programme was carried out in February and March across 4,460 schools by 1,200 volunteers from the Egyptian Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA), part of the social solidarity ministry.

According to Amr Othman, the head of the FDCTA, middle and high school students across 27 governorates took part in the programme, according to the social solidarity ministry’s statement on Sunday.

Of the total number of students who took the programme, 11,957 from 356 schools filled out evaluation forms after the programme.

The sample was 41 percent female and 59 percent male.

Middle school students accounted for 66.8 percent of the sample, high school students represented 20.4 percent, and technical high school students made up 12.7 percent.

Results of the study showed that 81 percent of the sample were familiar with the FDCTA’s media campaign starring the Egyptian football star Mohamed Salah, under the slogan “You are stronger than drugs.”

From her part, Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj explained that the programme aims to correct misconceptions about drugs through various creative activities,

These activities include short narrative films and ads that contain important messages about drug use.

The programme also engages students in brainstorming workshops, allowing them to translate their awareness into more interactive and impactful preventive actions.

The programme will continue on wide scale during the upcoming academic year, El-Qabbaj said.

Moreover, El-Qabbaj directed the ministry to continually develop educational curricula to raise awareness of drugs and their consequences.

In June, El-Qabbaj disclosed that the problem of drug abuse within school environments has significantly declined.

The percentage of drug abuse among school bus drivers has plummeted from 12 percent in 2017 to a mere 0.3 percent during the 2022/23 academic year.

Curbing drug abuse nationwide
 

Egypt has experienced a remarkable 50 percent reduction in drug abuse and addiction rates between 2015 and 2020, bringing it closer to international standards.

This achievement is attributed to the intensified efforts against drug abuse, as outlined by the FDCTA.

The prevalence of drug addiction in Egypt now stands at a mere two percent, according to  figures released by Othman in April.

Drug use among public sector employees has dropped from eight percent in 2019 to just one percent in 2022, according to recent figures provided by Minister El-Qabbaj in May. 

In 2021, Egypt officially implemented an Anti-Drug Law for public sector employees following a half-year period during which employees were encouraged to confidentially report addiction issues and access free treatment. 

The law entails potential consequences for individuals testing positive for drug use, including the possibility of suspension or even termination from their employment.

To consolidate recent declines in drug abuse, the Ministry of Health and Population re-launched its 'You Can, Without It' campaign for the fifth year to aid recovered drug users in avoiding relapse.

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