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Over 100 tons of marijuana and hashish are smuggled into Israel annually through the country's border with Egypt, while 3-4 tons of drugs - mostly heroin - enter the country across the Israeli-Jordanian border.
In addition, approximately 20 million LSD and Ecstasy pills are smuggled into the country every year, on airplanes and ships.
"These appear like dry numbers, but we mustn't forget we are talking about people, families like us, in which each child has a name, and whose lives have fallen apart on day," said Ronny Douek, the chairman of Israel's national Anti-Drugs Authority.
Douek spoke to The Jerusalem Post in anticipation of the Anti-Drugs Authority's conference Sunday in Tel Aviv, where it will present its five-year action plan for a war on drugs, entitled "Free Israel from Drugs."
The conference will be attended, among others, by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, educators, ministers, mayors, members of the security forces and of the country's business community. Participants will also include Professor Margaret Hamilton, the Australian government's consultant on fighting drug abuse, and official representatives from Jordan and Egypt.
According to Douek, drugs have shifted over the past decade from being a marginal to a major problem in Israeli society.
Today, there are 300,000 people using drugs on an occasional or consistent basis - including 20,000 heroin addicts and over 70,000 adolescents, hundreds of whom suffer severe mental damage following drug abuse. Almost every third university student, according to the Authority's statistics, uses some form of drugs.
One of the fundamental conditions succeeding in the war on drugs, Douek said, was full cooperation between various government ministries, the media, the academy, anti-drug associations, and the general public.
The new national program to be proposed by the Authority, Douek said, would include doubling the number of communities in which there is anti-drug activity from 50 to 100 and implementing preliminary educational programs to counter drug abuse in over 300 pre-schools across the country, among other things.
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