26 June 2022 – Cairo, Egypt
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA), in cooperation with the Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA) within the Ministry of Social Solidarity of the Arab Republic of Egypt, is marking the International Day against Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking on 26 and 27 June 2022. The celebration is being held in Al Asmarat, one of the developing areas in Cairo, an alternative to slums, and aims to strengthen action and cooperation towards a drug-free world.
Each year, individuals, entire communities, and various organizations all over the world join together to observe World Drug Day, raising awareness of the major problem illicit drugs pose to society. This year’s celebrations take place under the slogan “Care in Crisis” referring to drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises. The international community continues to advocate for the protection of the right to health for the most vulnerable, including children and youth, people using drugs, people with drug use disorders, especially in communities suffering from deteriorating economic conditions. It also continues to call for urgent action to strengthen drug abuse prevention and treatment.
In support of this year’s slogan, UNODC has organized two national workshops under the "Strong Families" and "Line Up! Live Up!" programmes. These 2-day workshops aim to prevent youth involvement in violence, drugs and crime through sport, art and psychosocial support as well as to empower them and their families to confront life’s challenges in a positive and effective manner. The first programme, “Strong Families”, focuses on building family skills, especially for those living in stressful contexts hereby providing a sense of safety, promoting positive mental health, and building the resilience in children and youth to risky behaviors such as drug use, violence and crime. The second programme, "Line Up! Live Up!" builds important personal, social and emotional skills for young people, helping them develop resilience to engage or re-engage in risky behaviors through a variety of innovative methods involving sports. The workshops are carried out by members of FDCTA trained by UNODC and are attended by about 50 families and 50 young men and girls.
The activities began with opening remarks to celebrate the International Day, by Dr. Amr Othman, Assistant to the Minister of Social Solidarity and Director of FDCTA, Ms. Mirna Bouhabib, UNODC ROMENA Deputy Regional Representative and a number of high-level guests. This was followed by a presentation about the “Youth 4 Impact” regional programme and the planned interventions in the Al Asmarat area.
In parallel with the “Line Up! Live Up!” and “Strong Families” workshops, numerous activities took place such as an art workshop for youth on the theme of the International Day, a family and child festival to increase awareness of the serious impacts of drug abuse developed by FDCTA in addition to a cycling marathon for boys and girls and a running marathon for families and children. On the second day, a football sports league for youth recovering from addiction in newly developed areas will take place followed by the closing ceremony, where the participants and volunteers will be acknowledged.
The events are organized under the “Youth 4 Impact” regional programme aimed at empowering youth to be more resilient against drugs, violence and crime. The programme was launched in the end of May 2022 and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This intervention is also in line with UNODC’s continuous support for Member States’ institutional capacity-building under the Regional Program for the Arab States to Prevent and Combat Crime, Terrorism and Health Threats and Strengthen Criminal Justice Systems (2016-2021).
This year’s celebration is aligned with the directions of the presidential programme “Prevention of Drug Substance Abuse in the Developed Areas Alternative to Slums”, which has been implemented by FDCTA since September 2020 as a part of the response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The programme provides primary prevention services, treatment and rehabilitation as well as empowerment and reintegration of patience with drug abuse disorder back into society and is overseen by His Excellency the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.