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23rd March 2017

"Amphetamine".. addiction with medical authorization

"Amphetamine", one of the derivatives of "phenethylamines", is used by some as a stimulant, appetite suppressant and aphrodisiac without realizing that it causes addiction after a short period of consumption that does not exceed two weeks .

This substance is classified as a drug that does not exist in Egypt, due to the current crisis in the Egyptian pharmaceutical market. It is therefore imported from abroad, and the first cause of its consumption is weight loss. The alternative for this drug is the "Contessa" which appears in the table of drugs. Amphetamine is considered to be a stimulant, used at specific doses to treat hyperactivity in children, without knowing that it is addictive, until they show signs of addiction after weeks of use.

Among the cases of addiction caused by this drug, a young girl at the American University called "Mona" who consumed it in order to lose weight without knowing the risks. One of his friends subsequently offered her powdered drugs until she reached the last stage of addiction and began to show addiction symptoms. Pushed to resort to a doctor and undergo a rehabilitation program. It took her an entire year to recover from her addiction to this drug.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Hammad, Head of Dependence Department at the Abbasside Hospital says that some people become addicted to this substance without realizing it, while others consume it for recreational purposes.

Hammad pointed out that the active ingredient in this drug is lighter than heroin, but it’s more expensive than cannabis and cheaper than the powdered drug. He noted that this drug was advised initially by doctors in the treatment of obesity, but when discovering its effects, they stopped prescribing it to patients. Hammad also pointed out that this synthetic product leads to loss of appetite and an increase in libido, but eventually it decreases sexual abilities and leads to insomnia, psychological disorders and hallucinations.

Among the cases of addiction, there’s "Mohammed", an Egyptian working in Kuwait. He used this drug to lose weight and as an aphrodisiac for a long time, which resulted in a decrease in his sexual abilities thereafter.

Hammad said that the majority of Arab patients addicted to this drug he treats, use it to increase their sexual desire, only to find themselves later affected by sexual disorders.

Regarding the consumption of this product for weight loss, Hammad said that the addicted to this drug follows a rehabilitation program of one to three months, and he is interned in the hospital during the first treatment period , which costs 5,000 pounds and in some hospitals it can cost between 50,000 or 60,000 pounds per month.

Reasons for consuming of this substance

Hammad added that some cases he treats take this synthetic product as an aphrodisiac, others as a substance leading to hallucinations in order to flee their psychological problems, others to find sleep, while some people use it in order to lose weight without realizing the risks it generates.

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22nd March 2017

"Drug Treatment" a Specialty Taught in Moroccan Faculties of Medicine

The Biochemistry, Nutrition and Molecular Biology team of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Casablanca organizes in partnership with the Moroccan Association for Communication on Health the first day of discussions around addiction to psychotropic substances ( Drugs), which will be held this Saturday the 25th of March 2017 at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Casablanca.

The organization of this first day on addiction is a result of the widespread of narcotics of all kinds, both natural like cannabis, Indian hemp, tea and coffee or synthetic as antidepressants, sedatives and opiates.

Scheduled seminars during this event will focus on narcotic substances that affect the nervous system of drug addicts and the national strategy for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction, as well as preventive, curative and security measures that goes within the same framework of this strategy.

It should be noted that the treatment of drug addiction has become a discipline taught in medical schools, to meet the needs of society in dealing with this scourge. The attending physician can treat addiction through medicines depending on the patient’s condition and the type of drug used. Treatment takes place either in drug treatment centers, health centers, private clinics or in psychological and behavioral therapy centers either individually or collectively.

In this context, statistics from the latest study by the Directorate of Epidemics and the Control of Infectious Diseases showed that 600,000 Moroccans consume drugs on a daily basis, out of whom 16,000 are addicted to hard drugs such as heroin and Cocaine, which is a high number because it only takes into account people who consume drug at least once a day. Among the main reasons for Moroccan’s drug addiction, we find extreme poverty, a lack of security, and unemployment which is affecting much of the country's youth.

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21st March 2017

Egypt: 165 drug farms destroyed inside 40 acres of land in South Sinai

Egyptian authorities in Suez and South Sinai, in cooperation with border guards, launched a fierce attack on drug traffickers, where a drug farm was destroyed inside 40 acres of land in the mountainous areas of Abordis and Wadi Firan in southern Sinai.

The campaign, led by Egyptian anti-drug officers, lasted for 10 consecutive days, and it is the first of its kind to enter the mountains of Abordis and valleys since the January 25 revolution, and which succeeded in destroying drug farms.

The joint campaign also managed to seize tons of Banjo drug found in drug farms in South Sinai.

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20th March 2017

Saudi Arabia: The Pharmacists Forum Calls for Better Monitoring of Analgesic Narcotic Medications

During the activities of the Scientific Forum of the Pharmacists Club pertinent to Narcotic Analgesics and Controlled Substances, a number of specialists in the field of pharmacology and psychiatry requested to strengthen and develop control procedures on narcotic analgesic and controlled substances. They also stressed the need to require private drug treatment centers to comply with prescription regulations for these drugs.

The Forum, which was held at the Al-Amal Mental Health Complex in Riyadh yesterday (Thursday), was organized by the Saudi Pharmaceutical Association under the slogan "Linking Health Systems With Modern Information Technology Practices" and in the presence of more than 150 specialists.

The Deputy Executive Director of the Complex, Dr Abashan Alabashan, welcomed the participants to the Forum. He pointed out that the Complex is always open to such forums that aim at the development of services and programs offered to psychiatric patients and addicts, whether at the level of treatment or that of community awareness to limit the addiction phenomenon.

For his part, the President of the Saudi Club of Pharmacists for Narcotic Drugs and Controlled Substances, Dr Mohamed Chennaoui, stressed that the Forum aims to develop public perception of narcotic and controlled medicines by bringing specialists practitioners together and trying to understand this area in order to develop and improve its concepts and implementation methods.

He also explained that the Forum aims to explain the concepts related to the work of pharmacists of this kind of specialization and to develop the field according to the data of modern times and the requirements of the optimal provision of pharmaceutical and medicinal care for patients. Such care must be consistent with the psychotropic substance control system's procedural guide to regulate the use of this type of medication rather than decrease it.

Moreover, discussions focused on how to manage controlled and pain-relieving drugs that cause addiction and how to best control and distribute them. Participants also exchanged views on drugs used in addiction treatment clinics and mental illness, in addition to news regarding controlled drugs, Sepa standards in controlled pharmacies, and the role of Pharmacists specialized in this type of medication.

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19th March 2017

NIDA: New resources available for criminal justice and drug treatment counselors

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has created several new resources for those who work within the criminal justice system and other environments where people in recovery are ready to return to their lives outside of a structured setting.

The new materials include:

Drugs & the Brain Wallet Card. This is a trifold, business card-sized resource that provides a brief explanation of the risk of overdose upon relapse. It includes helpful websites and a space for counselors or individuals to add local resources or personalized information, including triggers. These wallet cards can be ordered free of charge from the NIDA Dissemination Center.

The Science of Drug Use: Discussion Points. This online resource offers specific language for counselors, judges and others who work within drug education environments, to use when talking with teens and young adults, reinforcing the idea that addiction is a brain disease that requires treatment and ongoing attention. This resource includes information on where to obtain help.

Easy-to-Read Drug Facts. These brief, printable documents at lower literacy levels include information about specific drugs as well as the negative impact of drug use, the nature of addiction, and treatment and recovery.

Criminal Justice Toolkit. This toolkit, created for use by event holders during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, includes a compilation of relevant statistics and links to federal and multimedia resources that focus on juveniles who interact with the justice system.

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18th March 2017

Kuwait: Be aware of addiction

The "Conscious" project started in Kuwait a few months ago, with the start of several awareness campaigns for the prevention of drug abuse. The Project is the result of observations by a group of pharmacists in the governmental and private sectors who found that many patients had begun to abuse certain drugs with low concentrations of narcotic substances. These drugs are generally used to relieve acute pain and are delivered according to specific therapeutic doses. Pharmacists have noticed that some age groups have begun using these drugs at doses that exceeded the doses initially prescriped. They urge their doctors to obtain prescriptions containing specifically this type of medication pretending that the amount they received is insufficient, with the understanding that these doses are fully delivered during the treatment period prescribed by the doctor.

The "Conscious" project started with the organization of a campaign to raise awareness of the risks of the use of these medicines and very soon the idea evolved to encompass not only the fight against the abuse of this type of drugs, but also the awareness of young people on how to use them, in addition to the fight against drugs and drug addiction in general. The expansion of the project is due to the spread of violence among youngsters, whether on streets or shopping centers. Indeed, preliminary investigations have revealed that many perpetrators of these crimes have been high on drugs.

Therefore, it was important to start a large campaign against violence and drugs. After holding several meetings with the campaign supervisors, the idea was elaborated into a full five-year project with different objectives and axes.

 The first campaign was held in October 2016 at the Center of Medical Sciences under the theme "Drugs, how far?" I participated in this workshop with a scientific article entitled "Youth between the updated drug scourge and addiction ". It was a successful campaign due to the spirit of cooperation and coordination that prevailed between activists and volunteers.

Afterwards, it was the turn of the first conference under the slogan "Drugs, Drug Addiction, Causes and Treatment". The event was organized by the Kuwaiti Pharmaceutical Association in collaboration with the National Project to Increase Awareness and Prevention against Drugs (Conscious), the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, Ministry of Education and the Interior Ministry, under the auspices of the Health Minister Dr. Jamal Al Harbi. The conference was held from 18 to 20 February 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and I participated in it with a working paper entitled "The Role of Modern Technology in the Spread of Drugs and the Security Role. "

We will continue to talk about the "Conscious" Project in the next article.

Dr. Ali Ayed Al Humaidan - international expert in the field of drugs and psychotropic substances

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