Education officials in Saudi Arabia are becoming increasingly alarmed by a recent trend that sees students there taking stimulants to help them study for examinations.

Most dangerous is the amphetamine-type stimulant captagon that has become popular in the run up to college tests. But students have also become reliant on high-energy soft drinks that include high levels of caffeine. Sadly, according to Saudi officials, there are more than 1,600 young students who are addicted to the stimulants.

There are always depraved criminals who are willing to make a quick buck preying on the needs of others. These need to be rooted out and held accountable before the courts with stiff penalties and deterrents. Students themselves need to be fully educated about the dangers of becoming hooked on to substances that destroy mind, body and soul. But why are students under so much pressure to perform and succeed in examinations? There also needs to be an equal understanding that success at examinations is not the be all and end all — and assessing work throughout the academic year would reduce exam stresses.