Egypt’s Drug Problem Continues

Officials are currently struggling to control the growing drug problem in Egypt with a drug rate now reaching 10% (9.6 million people) according to the country’s Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Wali. Discussing the issue, Arab News reported that 10% is now twice the global rates, a number which has risen dramatically from 600,000 – 800,000 in 2007.

A 2017 study conducted by Egypt’s Fund for Drugs Control and Treatment revealed that when broken down the 10% of Egyptians abusing drugs consisted of 27.5% females, 24% long distance drivers and 10% of the younger population aged between 12 – 19 years old. The study reported that roughly 38% of those asked had taken drugs for experimentation, whilst 25% did so for creative purposes.

The most popular drug of abuse in Egypt is the prescription painkiller tramadol. Often used as a cheaper alternative to heroin, tramadol is used by more than half of the study’s participants, compared to 26% heroin and 23% cannabis.

Unemployment and a lack of police presence has said to have contributed to the country’s drug problem, especially within Cairo and Giza which account for over 52% of drug users. With an illegal drug trade reaching 400 billion Egyptian pounds in 2017, Egypt now plan to open an addiction treatment centre in each governorate with free treatment for patients.

Head of the Egyptian Centre for Prevention and Treatment of Addiction, Amr Othman states, “The percentage of people in Egypt that are under 35 make up around 40 percent of the population. If such a huge number of them are addicted, this means the future of Egypt is in danger. This is why the country should have serious programs and plans to fight this threat.”

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