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‘40% of young Saudi drug addicts taking Captagon’

JEDDAH: A majority of drug users in the Kingdom fall in the 12-22 age group, and close to 40 percent of them rely on substances to fill a vacuum, says Abdelelah Mohammed Al-Sharif, secretary general of the National Committee for Narcotics Control and assistant director of Anti-Drug and Preventative Affairs.

During his interview with a local paper, Al-Sharif revealed Captagon pills are the most popular among young people with drug addictions. Each pill consists of lead, acid, contraception and mercury, a structure that can cause damage to brain cells among abusers.
As for a proposal discussed by the Shoura Council to impose drug screening for employees and students, Al-Sharif said the commission supports any proposal adopted by official authorities aimed at protecting our society and children, and reducing the rate of drug use.
He said any proposal must be implemented in coordination with committee as per the directives of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, crown prince, deputy prime minister, Ministry of Interior and chairman of the National Committee for Combating Drugs.
As for main drivers of drug usage and addiction, Al-Sharif said studies point to emotional voids, family problems, peer pressure, and negative media as the main factors.
As youth get caught into the cycle of addiction, drug intake consisting of chemical materials begins to strongly affect the mind and the nervous system, as well as strongly reduce normal function physically, psychologically and socially, he explained.
Typical indicators of users include changes in how the individual thinks and acts around others, including indications that the individual has become more dangerous, aggressive, temperamental unhealthy or resistant, as well as has lost concern for ethics, social values, family, and community members. Users also become unable to manage responsibilities and funds, as students may fail semesters or employees may neglect job skills and duties.
Al-Sharif described drug usage as one of the most serious problems facing contemporary societies alongside crime, poverty, unemployment divorce and violence.
The role of the General Secretariat of the National Committee for Narcotics Control in this regard is to protect citizens from the harmful effects of drugs through national policies and programs, in coordination with public and private institutions, he said.
Such programs and initiatives focus on reducing the spread of drugs, supporting research, studies, and policy formulation in the area of drug control, relying on international experiences in fighting drugs, and providing social, cultural and health awareness to members of the community.
As for the national project for drug prevention launched in May, Nebras Al-Sharif described the program as an innovative effort to build preventative programs and apply quality standards in the area of reducing demand for drugs and psychotropic substances, in coordination with the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).”
He said the program, which attends to all age groups, especially youth, aims to build role models and support parents, teachers, and any interest parties in promoting awareness and protecting their community from drug abuse.

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