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Drug Abuse behind Catastrophic Transport Sector Accidents in Egypt

Drug Abuse behind Catastrophic Transport Sector Accidents in Egypt

Wednesday, 23 June, 2021 - 07:15
Egyptians gather around mangled train carriages at the scene of a train accident in Sohag, Egypt on Friday, March 26, 2021. (AP)

The March train crash in the Upper Egyptian city of Sohag is back under public scrutiny after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a new law requiring the dismissal of government employees who are found to be using drugs.


With drug abuse likely to blame for the March crash, Egyptian authorities rushed into testing another train driver in the city of Helwan on Monday night after a collision with a bus killed two people.


Although the train operator in Helwan tested negative for illegal substances, drugs remain a prime culprit in other traffic accidents witnessed by Egypt recently, according to Transport Minister Kamel Al-Wazir.


Last April, Public Prosecution charged several railway employees and drivers with “forgery,” “drug abuse” and “negligence.” This came as part of efforts to uncover the details of the Sohag train crash, which took place 365 km south of Cairo, killing 20 people and injuring around 200 others.


Public sector employees will now be subjected to random drug tests without notification, and anyone found to be using will be promptly dismissed.


The law, which Sisi ratified on Saturday, also states employees must report any drugs they are using before the arbitrary tests, whether they think it will influence the result or not.


The government said the law aims to put an end to the employment of people who have been found to be abusing narcotics.


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