Egypt's El Sisi ratifies new anti-drug law for public sector employees

The law was approved by Parliament in May after drug use was partly blamed for a deadly train crash in Upper Egypt

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace, France December 7, 2020. Michel Euler/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ratified a new law requiring the dismissal of government employees who are found to be using drugs.

The law was approved by Parliament in May after Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir decided to toughen penalties on train drivers who were proved to be drug users.

Authorities said an investigation into a train crash in the Upper Egyptian city of Sohag in March proved drugs had played a role in the accident, which killed at least 19 people and left hundreds injured.

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

The law, which was ratified by Mr El Sisi on Sunday, also states employees must report any drugs they are using before the surprise tests, whether they think it will influence the result or not.

The law was passed to protect the state from the “imminent dangers” of employing drug users, the government gazette’s announcement said.

Under the rules, employers have the right to terminate a drug user’s contract without notice or permission from a court or other legal apparatus.

A Social Solidarity Ministry survey found 2.5 per cent of the 327,000 public sector employees surveyed between March 2019 to March 2021 were drug users.

Hashish, tramadol and morphine were the most prevalent.