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Secret committees are looking for drug users in the administrative apparatus in Egypt

Cairo – Azzam entered the headquarters of the educational administration in Cairo, and proceeded with the usual daily work rituals, then asked permission to go out on an external mission. Security prevented him by a decision of the administration, due to the presence of a medical committee from the Ministry of Health, which came suddenly to conduct a drug test and reveal the employees who are using.

And recently, committees for detection and analysis of drug users have been active among employees in implementation of Law No. 73 of 2021, which provides for the termination of the job of drug users, a law that began to be implemented in mid-December.

Azzam’s surprise was not limited to preventing him from going out and forcing him to analyze, but was surprised that a nurse entered with him to the bathroom to make sure that he was not using a friend’s urine, it seemed embarrassing and funny at the same time, as he tells Al Jazeera Net that some of his colleagues were unable to complete the task because of the embarrassment Some of them had to take diuretics.

After the task was finished, the employees lined up waiting to receive the personal identification cards, which they handed over to the committee to record their data before entering. They stood in anticipation, trying to cover him with tense, sarcastic laughter from the embarrassing situation, as they knew that the employee who would be found to be using drugs, would only receive his ID card from the administration in order to Take the necessary measures with him.

Similar scenario

The same scenario took place in the Cairo Water Company, with a slight difference, which is that a driver in the company was found, who was found to have abused, and he was punished with a discount and a warning of dismissal.

Ayman Abdo, a company employee, says that tension prevailed after this discovery, as the driver swore that he only takes medicines and painkillers regularly to relieve bone and joint pain.

Ayman indicated in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that the matter worried his colleagues that the drugs would appear in the analysis, especially since narcotic drugs and strong painkillers could show them as abusers.

Fears and reassurances

The employees’ concerns emerged due to the new law, according to a doctor in one of the committees, who refused to give his name, stressing that the analysis of the suspicious sample was carried out in laboratories affiliated with the ministry, and not only in the workplace, to ensure that the sample is actually drug users and is not affected by medications being taken.

The employee has the right to resort to the Forensic Medicine Authority for a request to examine the sample – in dispute – at his own expense, or a medical examination can be requested on the same day the analysis takes place.

The competent authorities or the Forensic Medicine Authority are obligated to notify the employer of the final result of the analysis, and if the positive sample is confirmed, the worker’s service is terminated, and the executive regulations specify the rules and procedures necessary to implement this article, and the worker’s rights during the suspension period, and after termination of his service.

The examination committees rely in their work on the element of surprising employees in various government departments and companies, so there is complete secrecy in the movement of the analysis committee, whether for the ministry or any entity affiliated with it, as members of the committee are informed on the same day of the move to the destination that should go to examine its employees.

The committee consists of a representative of the Drug Addiction Fund, a representative of the General Secretariat of Mental Health, a representative of the Forensic Medicine Authority, and a representative of the body in which the analysis is being conducted.

The committee preserves the employee’s privacy, while ensuring the percentage of the sample to him, and then conducts the initial analysis and inferential disclosure in front of the person himself through quick detection tapes within a quarter of an hour.

If the result is positive, a case proof report is issued, and the sample is taken to the hospital to which the analysis team belongs, to conduct a confirmatory analysis that takes between 3 to 7 days through specialized medical devices.

After ascertaining the result, the Addiction Control Fund is informed of the result of the analysis, which in turn informs the affiliated authorities, to take the necessary action.

The law not only covers employees of the state’s administrative apparatus, but also private institutions of public interest, with the intensification of campaigns to detect drug users on public transportation and among school bus drivers.

promising data

The Media Center of the Council of Ministers published a report on the state’s efforts to combat addiction during the period from 2014 to 2021, in conjunction with the issuance of the law on dismissing the employee who abused.

The report clarified the motives for addiction and its harms, pointing to the launch of the “Your Decision” initiative aimed at educating workers in government institutions and departments about the harms of drugs, which has included 500,000 employees since its launch so far.

The report confirmed a decrease in the rate of drug abuse to 5.9% in 2021 compared to 10.2% in 2014, and the addiction rate decreased to 2.4% in 2021 compared to 3.4% in 2014.

The report stated that the annual average of the number of addictive patients who were provided with treatment amounted to 101 thousand patients, with an increase in the number of treatment and rehabilitation centers for addictive patients by 133.3%, while the number of patients attending the treatment centers to seek treatment and follow-up through the addiction treatment hotline reached 116.517 patients during the 10 months between 2020-2021.

The report monitored the highest governorates in terms of the number of callers to the addiction hotline, namely Cairo with 33.68%, Giza with 12.33%, and Alexandria with 9.22%.

The report indicated that 45% of the cases started drug abuse at the age of (15-20) years, 34% started at the age of (20-30) years, and 14% of the cases started when their members were less than 15 years old, while it indicated that 56% of them do not They work, and the remaining 44% work in the private and government sectors.

The report indicated that 448 thousand workers were detected in the governorates, while the hotline received 9,329 phone calls from employees for drug addiction treatment, coinciding with the issuance of the law to dismiss the employee who abused, pointing out that the rate of abuse among employees decreased to 1.7% in 2021 instead of 8 % year 2014.

Argument

The law has sparked controversy since the start of its discussion in 2019, and tweets considered the law harsh against the families of employees who would be affected by stopping the livelihood of their abuser family, which could exacerbate the crisis rather than solve it.

Followers linked these measures to previous official statements announcing the goal of reducing the number of employees in Egypt to only two million, down from 7 million when President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power in 2014, in response to the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund, given that these measures target drug users to dismiss them, in order to achieve To plan to get rid of millions of employees.

Official statements deny this interpretation, as the Minister of Social Solidarity and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Addiction Fund, Nevin Al-Kabbaj, announced that the door is open to employees using treatment, and then retain their positions, stressing that whoever applies for treatment voluntarily is considered a patient to be treated free of charge and in complete secrecy.

The Ministry announced the hotline of the Anti-Addiction Fund “16023”, with the provision of treatment services through 28 free treatment centers, so that the employee has the right to apply for treatment even after the application of the law without any legal accountability, as long as he submits on his own for treatment, and without that he will be dismissed. In the case of proven drug use.



Reference-www.aljazeera.net

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