(MENAFN - Arab News) The ministries of interior and education will launch an anti-drug awareness program in schools soon to counter the growing trend of youngsters smoking tobacco and then moving on to cannabis and other hard drugs
This comes hard on the heels of two new studies conducted by the interior ministry's general directorate of narcotics control showing that 10 percent of drug-addicted saudis started smoking at primary school 34 percent at intermediate level and 26 percent at high school
Abdul ilah al-sharif assistant director general of the directorate said school-going children are the most vulnerable. he said parents must play a bigger role in monitoring their children between 12 and 20 years of age according to local media
Al-sharif said other factors play a part in young people using drugs including peer pressure and little family support. he said the government seized 45 tons of cannabis last year compared to 23 tons over the previous three years
r>He said the program would include teachers in makkah jeddah tabuk and riyadh in phase one. the program is an initiative of the interior ministry that had been delayed since last year until an implementation plan could be completed
Abdullah hijazi the director of a private school said many parents are not aware of their children's activities including them mixing with drug-using friends
Hijazi said many students smoke drugs outside of schools hours. he urged parents to watch their children more closely including questioning them about their whereabouts
Al-sharif had said previously that a new technical directorate has been established to track and arrest those who use social media websites to sell drugs. 'the efforts of the directorate police and other officials were successful in foiling several attempts to smuggle and sell drugs. last year the authorities investigated more than 37000 cases of smuggling possession using and transportation of drugs" he said.