Pestilence Update

Egypt says cheap new drug ‘Strox’ threatens its youth

Blog note:

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).

… And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (Luke 21:25)

… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)

… This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)

(Emphasis Added).

Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. These verses are several of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied Eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor pains that occur in greater severity, frequency, size and duration prior to giving birth. End of note.

Egypt says cheap new drug ‘Strox’ threatens its youth

Ali Abdelaty NOVEMBER 20, 2018 / 10:09 AM / 5 DAYS AGO

CAIRO (Reuters) – For years, Mostafa Mahmoud struggled to pay for his expensive drug addiction, spending much of his meagre income on hashish. A few months ago, he switched to a cheaper way to get high which he says is pushing him to his death.

The 27-year-old man is among a growing number of Egyptians using Strox, a potent narcotic that is mixed with tobacco and smoked, and that Egyptian officials see as one of the biggest threats to the country’s young population.

Drug addiction has long been a problem in Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world with nearly 100 million. But the speed at which Strox use is spreading has posed a new challenge. Experts say the drug is made in local workshops by adding chemicals often used by veterinarians to a herb like marjoram. Some add pesticides for greater impact, but effectively make the drug more deadly. Users describe painful convulsions leading to hallucinations and loss of consciousness. Authorities say the drug has killed dozens of people and has caused a spike in crime.

“It is cheaper than hashish, but when you smoke it you choke, pass out and suffer cramps,” said Mahmoud, who lost his job at a fruit shop due to his drug habit. While the price for one hashish joint was 50 Egyptian pounds ($2.80), he said two Strox joints cost 30 pounds. It is spreading in impoverished areas, where living standards have plunged since a 2016 IMF-backed reforms package forced currency devaluation and cut state subsidies. Many victims are aged 15 to 20, according to Amr Othman, director of the state-run drug rehabilitation fund.

While statistics are scarce, officials say some 104,000 drug addicts were receiving free treatment at a rehabilitation centre run by the ministry of social solidarity.  Of those, about 25 percent are Strox addicts, officials said, up from 4.5 percent last year. The number of arrests is also up. Over the past six months, the number of Strox-related arrests soared by 300 percent, and Strox addicts have surged to 40 percent of total drug users in Egypt from 9 percent of the total at the start of the year, according to a security source estimate.

Experts say Strox is a type of synthetic narcotic like those that spread in Western nations more than a decade ago. “Some are 100 times more potent than others,” said Justice Tettey, chief of the laboratory and scientific section at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Egypt.

“The frightening part is not that it’s more potent than cannabis,” he said. “It’s that most people have no idea what they’re taking. Your first one or next one could be your last one,” he added. “I don’t know why I use it. It is awful,” Mahmoud said, describing waking up after one session to find a friend had died in his sleep from an overdose. Mahmoud and his friends were held for a few months but later freed without charge.

Recognising the threat, authorities in September banned the unlicensed sale of chemicals used to make Strox. Othman said the decision came due to combined efforts by the ministries of health, justice and interior. Authorities have also enlisted the country’s mosques, devoting a Friday sermon to rally Muslims against drugs. “Just as we are in a comprehensive fight against terrorism, we need a quick and comprehensive battle against addiction and drugs,” the sermon said. “Drugs are another kind of terrorism.”

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