Drug Abuse in the Global Village



Extent of Drug Abuse: Cannabis is reported the most abused drug in Egypt. Annual prevalence of abuse is estimated at 5 per cent. According to statistics on people receiving treatment in 1989, there were 488 registered cannabis registered (U.N. 1989, IDAAS 1990).

Sedatives are the next most abused drugs, with annual prevalence estimated 2 per cent (IDAAS 1989).

Amphetamines are the next most prevalent drug, with an annual abuse of about 1 per cent, followed by opiate-type drugs, with an estimated annual prevalence of 0.5 per cent (IDAAS 1990).

Cocaine and heroin abuse were estimated at 145 and 130 abusers respectively, according to data from drug abusers registries (U.N. 1989).

The total number of persons who had used any illicit drug in 1989 was about 425,000 persons, or 0.8 per cent of the total population. About 8 per cent of the male secondary school students in Egypt have ever abused some type of drug (IDAAS 1989, 1990).

Abuser Characteristics: According to reports, most abusers are males between 20-40 years of age. Only 5 cases of female abusers were reported among registered opium abusers (U.N. 1989).
Drug abusers in Egypt are reported most likely married; professional workers also have a high incidence of abuse (U.N. 1989).

Regional Variations: Drug abuse is more common in the urban areas and big cities than in
rural and semi-rural areas of the country (U.N. 1989, IDAAS 1989).

Trends: A large increase in the abuse of all drugs was reported in 1989, which was attributed to an increase in the population (U.N. 1989).The number of drug dependent abusers receiving treatment in psychiatric hospitals has increased from 157 abusers in 1982, to 1193 in 1988, and 995 in 1989, according to data collected by the Ministery of Health, Mental Health Department (U.N. 1990).

Mode of intake: Heroin, amphetamines and stimulants are reported to be both injected and sniffed, and opium is ingested and injected. Tranquilizers are reported to be ingested (U.N. 1989, 1990).Multiple drug abuse is reported to occur frequently among the drug abusers in Egypt (65 per cent of the registered abusers used more than one drug) (U.N. 1989).


Increases in criminal activity, family disruption, road accidents and violence were reported as consequences associated with illicit drug abuse (IDAAS 1990)


National Strategy: A National Council for Drug Dependency was established, with representatives from a broad range of disciplines such as health, social, environment, religious, and youth affairs. The Council also has members from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior. The chief task of the council was to revise the existing narcotic law and enforce new amendments as applicable (Drug Information 1989).
Structure of National Drug Control Organs : The central government unit responsible for liaison and coordination of national drug control policy is the Central Administration for Pharmaceutical Affairs within the Ministry of Health.


Treaty adherence: Egypt is party to the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Measures taken with respect to Drug Control
Recently enacted laws and regulations:  None reported.
Licensing system for manufacture, trade and distribution: There is a government-controlled licensing system for both narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Falsified prescriptions for psychotropic substances were reported as a problem in 1991. No psychotropic substances and narcotic drugs were reported being manufactured in 1991.
Control system: 1. Prescription requirement: There is a prescription requirement for supply or dispensation of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
2. Warnings on packages: The law requires warnings on packages or accompanying leaflet information to safeguard the users of preparations containing narcotic drugs but not on those containing psychotropic substances.
3. Control of non-treaty substances, if any: None reported.
4. Other administrative measures: None reported.
Social Measures:
Penal Sanctions related to social measures: In 1991, courts applied measures of treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation or social reintegration for a drug-related offence neither as an alternative nor in addition to conviction or punishment.
Other social measures: None reported.


Primary Prevention: Prevention programmes include drug awareness programmes in schools and universities, as well as in labour-groups. Frequent visits to the Social Defense Club of the Ministry of Social Affairs are organized for abusers. Programmes are promoted in the mass media (U.N. 1989).

Treatment and Rehabilitation: In 1989, a total of 1165 persons received treatment for drug abuse, according to figures reported by governmental and non governmental treatment facilities (IDAAS 1990). In 1990, 308 opiate abusers and 134 abusers of other drugs were treated. The main method employed is the curative method and the desire of the abuser himself to leave drug abuse (U.N. 1989).

Government treatment services are available in Alexandria and Cairo. Each city has two treatment facilities, one free of charge for those who volunteer and the other at a reasonable cost, each with capacity of 70 beds. A newly established unit has also opened, with treatment being offered at reasonable costs. Non governmental treatment is also available through the Central Association for Addressing Alcohol and Drug Addiction, where treatment is offered to volunteers at very low cost. Arrested drug abusers can be sentenced to compulsory treatment at one of the governmental treatment facilities (IDAAS 1989).


Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences: In 1989, 10,956 persons were arrested and 4,095 were convicted for illicit drug possession for trafficking (IDAAS 1990).
Seizures : Cannabis resin was the drug most frequently seized in 1992, totalling over 7 tonnes (IDAAS 1992). In 1991, 381,099 units of cannabis plants and almost 11 tonnes of cannabis resin were seized (Other 1991).
Cocaine appeared for the first time in police seizure records in 1984. In 1990, cocaine seizures amounted to 0.920 kg. Since then, cocaine seizures have declined to 0.292 kg in 1992. Heroin seizures total 52 kg in 1992 (IDAAS 1984, Other 1990, 1992).
In 1991, about 3.8 million units of opium plants and capsules were seized, for 1990, the total was 4.7 million units. About 50 kg of opium raw and prepared were also seized in 1991 (Other 1990, 1991).

            In 1990, 1,325.538 litres of stimulants were seized. The corresponding figure for 1991 was 536.430 litres (Other 1990, 1991).

Supply Source of Drugs: No information reported by 31st December 1993.

Estimated population:                                                      1.9 million (1993)
Life expectancy at birth:                                                    years (1990)
Annual population growth rate:                                         ...% (1960-1990)
                                                                                                % (1990-2000)
Urban population                                                                   %  (1990)
Real GDP per capita:                                                  PPP$ (1988)
Adult literacy Rate (male):                                        
Adult literacy Rate (female):                                     
Primary enrolment:                                                      
Mean years of schooling:                                                        %(1980)
Population per doctor:                                                 (1984)
Population per nurse (1984-1989):                         
Population with access to
 health services:                                                          
Radios (per 1,000 people):                                    
Daily newspaper circulation
 (per 1,000 people):                                                          
Televisions (per 1,000 people):                                              
Human Development Index:                                                  (1991)
(Ref: -----)

References and Notes
U.N., 1989-1990.               Replies to the UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire. 
Drug Information 1989.   Drug Information: News and Highlights, 1989. The Egyptian Pharmaco Information Centre  Vol.7. no.1-4.
IDAAS, 1989, 1990.               International Drug Abuse Assessment System, Annual Reports Questionnaires, 1989. Field Test Draft, 1990. United Nations Economic and Social Council.           
Other 1990-1992.               Obtained from one or more seizure reports provided by the Government or from other official sources for the years 1990 through 1992.

* The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs based on Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years 1988 through 1991.
The general background information is taken from: Human Development Report 1993, published for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York, Oxford University Press, Demographic Yearbook, New York, United Nations 1993.