FDCTA’s “volunteer kiosks” at universities raise awareness among students about the harm of drug abuse, including cultural events and drawing classes. The Minister of Social Solidarity gives directives to increase activities and take advantage of students’ role in educating their peers against drug abuse.
At the beginning of the new school year, the Fund for Drug Control and the Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA), headed by Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine Al-Qabaj, established “volunteer kiosks “ at several Egyptian universities to meet with students, raise awareness about drug abuse, field questions from students about drug addiction, explain how Hotline 16023 operates, and how to connect to receive free and confidential treatment.
The FDCTA’s “volunteer kiosks” aim to attract university students and educate them about how to avoid drug addiction, answer any questions about the subject, and correct misconceptions about drug abuse -- such as drugs improving concentration, memory and making “fun” friends.
The kiosks also sponsor volunteer activities and training programmes to combat drug abuse. Young volunteers, for example, organise nature drawing sessions during which there are discussions about the harm of drug abuse, including smoking, on the environment by adding to air pollution that harms the health of humans.
There are also games and competitions to educate, such as the Wheel of Information which is a board with a circle of information about mistaken ideas and beliefs about narcotics, which asks a variety of questions such as: How does smoking harm a woman’s beauty? And how do drugs lower virility in men? Also, educating about the dangers of smoking hash and cannabis, and the misconception that drugs make you funnier and improve concentration, physical strength and self-esteem.
Qabaj gave directives to increase awareness programmes on college campuses and take advantage of student energies to educate their peers. This is part of the Ministry’s plan to raise social awareness among all echelons, especially youth, about the dangers of drugs. She said “volunteer kiosks” will be permanent FDCTA outlets at universities, and serve as beacons of prevention and education for youth, as well as for recruiting more young volunteers to join in the fight against drugs.
Assistant to the minister of social solidarity and FDCTA Director Amr Osman said the kiosks are located at several universities, including Cairo University, Helwan University, Zaqaziq University and Sohag University. They receive students throughout the academic year to answer questions about drug abuse, educate about this vice, and how to seek help on Hotline 16023 for free and confidential treatment.
Students are also informed about misconceptions and misinformation about drug abuse, and ways of preventing drug addiction.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 28 October, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly