Cairo - Public sector employees are required to undergo compulsory tests as part of a nation-wide anti-narcotics campaign.
Blood samples are being taken from employees to see whether they use drugs.
Public institutions and agencies have to provide the Addiction Treatment and Abuse Fund with the data of their employees, numbers, and their locations.
Samples of blood have been collected from 8,282 public sector employees at eight ministries over the past two months – 250 of whom tested positive.
Employees who abuse drugs will be referred to the Administrative Prosecution Authority. The penalty can be as severe as dismissal from work.
School bus and truck drivers will also undergo compulsory anti-drug tests.
School bus drivers who test positive are dismissed from work in coordination with the Ministry of Education. They will be referred to the Public Prosecution and charged with driving under drug influence.
Public employee or driver can ask voluntarily to receive free treatment on hotline 16023 on condition of anonymity.
A batch of 240 school bus drivers were tested in police checkpoints in Menya governorate last Sunday and Monday – of whom 11 turned out to be abusing drugs and were referred to the public prosecution. Seven are using hash, three take Tramadol pills, and one was consuming morphine.
The rate of substance use among the Egyptian population reached 10.4 per cent classified into trials, intermittent and continuous use, which has given rise to social issues, moral deviations, and different forms of violence.
Head of Preventive Programs at the Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction Ibrahim Askar revealed the aforementioned data in a TV program aired on Al Hayat channel.
Askar explained that 79 per cent of crimes committed were driven by substance use. He added that the minimum age of substance use has plummeted to 9-10 years old.
On a positive note, the percentage of substance use among truck drivers decreased from 24 per cent in 2015 to 12 per cent last year.
Chairperson of the National Council for Combating and Treating Addiction (NCCTA) Inas al-Gaafarawy clarified that some of the narcotics used contain artificial substances which makes them more harmful to the health than natural narcotics.
Gaafarawy added that hash is the easiest narcotic that can be detected in tests, and that addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder that affects the brain.