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    Anti-drug campaign launched in schools

    KABUL (PAN): Students in the seventh through twelfth grades from 300 schools in fifteen provinces will receive education on the harms of narcotics, an official said on Sunday.

    Sayed Ibrahim Shah Salemi, head of the Curriculum Development Department in the Ministry of Education, told Pajhwok Afghan News that new books about the dangers of drugs have been prepared for each class.

    They are being introduced to school administrators during a three-day meeting in Kabul. More than 300 school principles and education directors are participating in the conference.

    The books address the negative impact of drugs on health, the economy, social morale and Islamic values.  They also give students advice on how to avoid addicts and how to persuade addicts to give up drugs.

    Salemi said the new books will supplement the education ministry’s previous outreach efforts, which include a course in school, and anti-drug messages on the cover pages of books.

    He hopes the program will be extended to all schools across the country.

    Mohammad Asif Nang, deputy minister for vocational and technical education, said that each year, the Ministry of Education disseminates 40 million messages on the covers of books to 9 million students in 14 thousand schools. They deliver an additional 16 million messages about drug use throughout other teaching materials.

    He requested that the international community help the ministry fight drugs.

    According to the deputy minister of counter-narcotics, Mohammad Ibrahim Asghar, around 1 million Afghans are addicted to drugs. Of those, about 60 thousand are children and 12 thousand are women.

    He said a survey conducted in 2009 by the United Nations indicated that drug addiction is growing among youth in Afghanistan.

    He considers the Education Ministry’s prevention program to be very effective, and requested that officials at the ministry of education and principals of the schools cooperate with them in this regard.

    According to the Ministry of Education, this program, funded by Colombo Plan, was implemented by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Counter-narcotics in 24 schools in Kabul, Herat, Balkh and Nangarhar last year.