Sitting among the vines in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad, a retired soldier, remembers the not-so-distant time when he cultivated cannabis before replacing it with red and white grapes used
A delegation of the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations, chaired by Judge Bernard Layuri, visited the Ministry of Social Solidarity's Treatment and Addiction Fund to learn more about the Egyptian experience in the fight against the problem of drug abuse and addiction. This is the first visit by the delegation to Egypt since 2001.
Mr. Amro Osman, Director of the Fund, outlined the experience of the Addictions Fund in the implementation of the national drug control plan, the current drug problem status and the integration of the drug issue in the school curricula to raise awareness of students and teachers in pre-university education about the dangers of smoking and drug use in all their forms. Amro Osman also spoke about the campaign "You are stronger than drugs" in addition to the increase in the number of hospitals specializing in the treatment of addiction from 10 to 19 hospitals during the last five years, as well as the integration of cured patients in the community by providing loans that help them set up small projects.
The delegation's visit to the headquarters of the Fund came following the presentation done by Mrs. Ghada Wali, Minister of Social Solidarity and Chairperson of the Drug Treatment and Addiction Fund, which highlighted the experience of the Fund and the Egyptian plan to deal with the phenomenon of drug addiction and reduce the demand for drugs, at the plenary session of the United Nations International Conference. The Conference was held in the Austrian capital of Vienna in March, at the invitation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Mrs. Wali’s presentation was received with great interest by the conference’s participants who wanted to learn more about the Fund experience in the treatment of addictions.
The delegation of the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations praised the Fund's experience in implementing the national plan to combat drug use. The delegation also took note of the working mechanism of the "16023" hotline and how calls from patients and their families are received in absolute confidentiality and treatments are provided for free. Currently, 500 calls on average are received on a daily basis. The delegation members stressed the importance of implementing a plan to combat drugs and the use of scientific research on a regular basis to assess the dimensions of the drug phenomenon and its evolution, which the Fund is currently doing.