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19th August 2017

13 million women are addicted to drugs worldwide

The report of the International Narcotics Control Board for the year 2016, published in March 2017, revealed that the number of female drug addicts in the world in 2010 reached 6.3 million women addicted to amphetamines, 4.7 million addicts to opiates and 2.1 million addicted to cocaine.

The report said that the prevalence of drug use among women worldwide was 31% in South Asia and Oceania and 22% for cocaine abuse in the two Americas.

It also indicated that there has been an 800% increase in the rates of women detained in America due to drug offenses compared to 300% for the male inmates. The percentage of women convicted of drug offenses has reached over 25% in Tajikistan and 50% in South America.

In addition, the report of the International Narcotics Control Board in 2015 cited a study on the status of women prisoners, revealing that 65% of female prisoners were convicted of drug offenses in Panama, of whom 22% were foreigners.

The report also mentioned the percentage of women who had lost their lives due to overdoses of narcotic drugs or prescribed medicines under medical regulations; a phenomenon widespread in Germany and Serbia that reached 30% in the United States, 42% Australia, and 50% in Spain and Portugal.

Moreover, the report of the International Board for the year 2017, pointed out that in 2012 drug overdoses caused the deaths of more than 15 thousand women in the United States.

It added that during the period from 1999 to 2010 the number of deaths due to drug abuse in the United States increased by more than 3.6 times compared to the rate of men.

According to the report, mortality rates due to overdoses for abuse of all narcotic substances have increased in Britain and Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2008 for women compared to men, i.e. 17% for women and 8% for men.

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17th August 2017

An Egyptian doctor warns: drugs may come disguised in peppermint form

The recently published survey on smoking and the use of narcotics and alcohol among secondary school students revealed the emergence of new types of drug in both general and technical high schools, such as the Strox at a rate of 14.9% and Voodoo at a rate of 12.4%. The seriousness of voodoo and strox lies in their rapid spread which confirms that they represent the next threat to our youth.

One reason for the emergence of these two types of narcotic substances is the attempt by drug traffickers to apply new methods to deceive security services and attract more categories in our socities. One of the new methods used few years back is mixing aromatic plants such as marjoram or certain components of incense with very dangerous narcotic substances, the latter appear therefore as aromatic plants but they hide risky narcotic substances.

This makes them easier to promote among young people and deceives security services as they are hidden in the form of aromatic plants or incense. Even parents are unable to detect them when they are consumed by their children. Beware then of street plants of unknown source that contain a poison to attract youngsters and destroy society. Some of these substances are widespread in the Arab world and the Middle East, even among children aged 11 to 14 years. The odor of the voodoo is completely like incense because it is composed of a set of dried aromatic herbs and sprayed with a synthetic substance known as JWH-018 which is similar to the composition of the cannabis narcotic substance known as "tetrahydrocannabinol or THC". This substance provide its effect through the same CB1 - CB2 brain receptors as the active substance of cannabis. The user then burns and smokes these aromatic herbs soaked by this narcotic substance which will be absorbed within few minutes by the lungs to finally reach the brain’s receptors. It causes redness of the eyes, ecstasy and delirium in the same way as cannabis and its effect lasts more than five hours.

The second type, known as Strox or Blue Elephant, is expensive and promoted in luxury places. It is prepared by adding narcotic substances to marjoram or sage plants, two aromatic plants with a distinguished smell or to other ordinary herbs such  as mint and aniseed. But in the case of Strox, these known plants are sprayed with narcotic substances in addition to substances that control the parasympathetic nervous system such as atropine, hyoscine and hyoscyamine known as "anticholinergic drugs". These substances exist in small doses in some medications that treat cramps, colic and dilate the eyes pupils in some eye drops. They can also be used before surgery to calm the patient, relax the muscles of the body and reduce the biological fluids secreted by the body. In veterinary medicine, they can be used to reduce the agitation of certain animals. But in large doses, as in Strox, they cause hallucinations, dryness in the throat, dilation of the pupils, visual and auditory hallucinations, redness of the face, increased heart rate, roughness of the voice and may also cause vomiting, fear, excessive nervousness, dizziness and anorexia.

On the other hand, substances that exist in Strox have very dangerous pharmacological effects on the body’s functions in the case of high doses, such as circulatory insufficiency, angina pectoris, hand shaking and temporary loss of memory. They can also cause cardiac arrest, paralysis of the movement of the respiratory system, lung cancer tumors and death.

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16th August 2017

How technology is changing drug addiction treatment

Treating drug addiction with psychotherapy could perhaps be considered the most human activity on the planet. Yet, it now seems technology is fundamentally changing the way we think about drug addiction and its treatment.

New apps, techniques, and gadgets are redefining drug addiction treatment and making it easier for millions of addicts to regain control over their lives. Here’s how technology is having an impact and shaping the future of treatments for substance abuse.


There are some traditional techniques of tackling substance abuse that have proven to be effective. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET) are both well documented and backed by scientific research. However, a lack of resources and awareness could limit the potential of these psychotherapies.

Hence, the National Institutes of Health commissioned a number of studies to examine if computer systems could help fill the gap and get assistance out to those in pain. The results of these studies were fairly encouraging.

One of the most promising techniques was computer-based training or CBT. A randomized trial on cocaine addicts and methadone users found that a computer training module helped boost the rate of abstinence from cocaine. The module included training sessions on how drugs affect behavior, handling peer pressure, solving health problems that are correlated to substance abuse, and improving decision-making skills to tackle reckless behavior. The rate of abstinence was increased from 17% to 36% through these computer-training sessions.

A similar web-based program called “Project Quit”, helped many users quit smoking.

Experts hope that similar computer programs and online training sessions could have a wider impact. Coupled with social media and online video streaming services, these programs could have a far-reaching effect.


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin designed an app that could offer therapy and personal support at the touch of a button. called Addiction–Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (A-CHESS), the app included audio relaxation and meditation guides as well as an alert system to keep addicts away from high-risk areas where they are likely to get access to drugs and alcohol. The app has a statistically significant 12% advantage over usual care.

Similar apps like CleanTime Counter and iSponsor help addicts keep track of their sobriety and find inspiration to keep going. Affordable and easily accessible mobile apps have the potential to change drug addiction treatment forever.

It seems that technology-assisted healthcare could actually augment the way we treat addicts in the near future.

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15th August 2017

Drug related offences increase by more than 95% in Jordan

The number of drug offences in Jordan increased by 95.93% in 2016 compared to the year 2015. According to the Association of the Jordanian Institute of Women's Solidarity "Tadamon", one of the country’s civil society organizations, young people involved in drug trafficking topped the list with 86.3%.

Moreover, according to a report published by the Association on its website, figures from the Jordanian criminal information management reveal that the number of drug trafficking offences committed in Jordan in 2016 reached 1,924 crimes, an increase of 95.93% compared to the year 2015 that witnessed 982 crimes.

The total number of offences in 2016 related to the possession and use of narcotics reached 11,697, i.e. a 16% increase compared to 2015 during which 1,080 crimes of this type were recorded.

According to statistics, the proportion of young people who commit drug trafficking crimes has reached 41 crimes over the past year, with an increase of 86.3% compared to the year 2015 when 22 crimes were committed .

The student category ranked second with 43 crimes in 2016, a 48% increase from the year 2015 when 29 crimes were committed.

As for foreigners, they ranked in the third place, committing 165 crimes in 2016, an increase of 2.4% compared to the year 2015 when 161 crimes were committed. The proportion of drug trafficking offences committed by the unemployed has dropped considerably to 57.3% (304 crimes in 2016) against 713 in 2015.

The number of students who committed drug use and possession offenses also increased to 737 crimes with an increase of 13.3%, followed by the youth category who committed 234 crimes, i.e. a 11,4% increase compared to 2015, while the number of perpetrators of these crimes among the unemployed category fell by 36.4% with 1343 crimes. The category of foreigners declined by 3.8%, bringing the number down to 1400. It should be noted that categories related to foreigners and the unemployed have committed the most number of crimes.

Commenting on the figures, the Tadamon Association said that families suffering from disintegration and high levels of poverty and unemployment run the risk of seeing one of their members, be it husband, a son or a brother, becoming an easy prey to drugs.

The Association indicated that women may account for only a small fraction of the total number, but suffer from the devastating health, social and economic effects of drugs.

Nevertheless, the 2016 report issued by the International Narcotics Control Board, a subsidiary body of the United Nations, indicated that women account for one-third of the world's drug users, of whom 6.3 million women are addicted to amphetamines, 4.7 million to psychotropic substances, and 2.1 million to cocaine. 3.8 million women use injection drugs, which is equivalent to 0.11% of the total number of women worldwide, according to the 2010 data.

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14th August 2017

Iran officially distributes drugs to drug addicts

The spokesman of the Judicial Committee of the Iranian Shura Council "Parliament", MP Hassan Norouzi said that "a bill for the distribution of drugs to drug addicts through government vouchers will soon be applied."

The information agency "ILNA" quoted the words of Norouzi, who said: "The distribution of drug vouchers to drug addicts will be carried out in the same way as during the reign of the Shah, and all religious authorities have agreed this procedure; adding that the objective of this approach is to put an end to the relationship between drug addicts and drug smugglers ".

The Iranian deputy revealed that "the promulgation of this law is part of the general policy of the Iranian regime which aims to reduce the relationship between drug addicts and smugglers". He stressed that "the government will provide soft drugs to addicts so that they can gradually heal from addiction, and instead of going to drug traffickers, they will turn to the government and get drugs through it officially".

Norouzi also explained that "soft drugs refer to the substance of Methadone which will be distributed instead of opium, cannabis and other drugs spread in Iran. "

It should be noted that the Judiciary Committee of the Iranian Parliament has previously proposed a bill abolishing death penalty for charges of distribution and possession of less than 100 kg of opium and the production and distribution of synthetic narcotics substances that do not exceed 2 kg.

This law, if adopted, will also allow drug users to keep less than 5 kg of these drugs. The Iranian Parliament has already approved on Sunday 16 July additional regulations for the anti-drug law that stipulate the execution of producers and drug dealers or drug traffickers who use minors to achieve their drug crimes.

On this subject, Norouzi said: "These new amendments have been added to the previous anti-drug law. From now on, people who produce and distribute 2 kg of synthetic drugs or those who carry or keep 3 kg of these drugs will be executed. "

The project for the distribution of vouchers or vouchers to purchase drugs is born because of the futility of the death penalty in the face of the widespread addiction phenomenon in Iran.

It should be recalled that in recent years Iran has been widely criticized by international human rights organizations due to the adoption by its judicial power of the death penalty against persons accused of related crimes to drugs, where the Amnesty International said that "during last year alone, 570 of drug offenses suspects were executed in Iran."

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13th August 2017

Egypt: Alarming drug statistics, 10 million people consume drugs

The Head of the Addiction Treament Fund, Amro Osman has revealed few days ago that 10% of the population that is 10 million Egyptians, are addicted to drugs. This represents a large percentage compared to international statistics, where the drug consumption rate was only 5%. Moreover, the majority of this percentage included young people. Tramadol pills drug users are the most common with 51%, followed by heroin in the 2nd place by 25%, and cannabis in the third place both in terms of spread and use .

More than 37,000 phone calls to the drug addiction fund in 6 months

In the same context, Ghada Wali, Minister of Social Solidarity and Chairperson of the Drug Treatment and Addiction Fund Directorate, said that the fund hotline number 16023 received in the first six months of the year 37,322 phone calls, including 30,373 new calls and 6,949 calls for advice and reporting of addictions. This figure is more than double that of the same period in 2016 when 92% of the 14,901 calls requested drug treatment for drug users.

145 thousand drug users, including 18 thousand children in 3 months

The statistics were published after a week of a report published by the Ministry of Health on the number of visitors to the mental health and addiction treatment clinics. According to the report, 154 thousand patients were admitted to the psychiatric clinics and addiction clinics of the hospitals of the General Secretariat. During the period from the beginning of April till the 30th of June, the number of patients reached 123,416, including 10,191 adults aged between 19 and 60 i.e  82%; 11,478 children aged between one year up till 12 years old with 9.3%; the proportion of adolescents aged 13-18 years was 5.9%, while the lowest rate was 2.2% for elderly people aged 61 years and above.

Media and educational awareness

Dr. Said Sadek, professor of sociology, said: The resolution of this crisis begins with a set of measures, both on the part of the state and official bodies or by the family. There must in fact be an educational awareness by the father, mother and older brother, as well as by schools and universities. The state must perform many media awareness campaigns throughout the year to highlight the dangers of drug use. He pointed out that there is a difference between the user and the addict; The user consumes once while the addict consumes all types of drugs permanently.

Dr. Sadek continued: "There are factors that influence these figures: the better the percentage of culture and education the lesser the percentage of drug use. There is also a common belief that Tramadol is a stimulant, which is not true, and awareness campaigns must include a rectification of these misconceptions. The professor also stressed that security authorities have an important role in reducing the spread of drugs, if they are eliminated or reduced, there will be a decrease in the rate of use, as well as in drug addicts.

Finally, Dr. Sadek said that the legislative side has a crucial role, where it must provide heavier penalties for the trader and the drug user. On the other hand, children and adolescents should not be incarcerated from their first use of drugs because if they are imprisoned with criminals and drug addicts, they will turn into criminals and addicts. They must rather be given the chance to be rehabilitated psychologically and physically.

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