Thursday, January 27

‘Stop drug epidemic before it’s too late’

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MIRI: Drug abuse is like an epidemic where if nothing was done to overcome it, the problem could get serious and spread.

The government spent a huge sum of money to eliminate the ‘epidemic’ in the country by holding numerous awareness programmes to keep the people informed on the dangers of drugs.

“The dinner tonight (Saturday) is one such programme to awaken the people so together we step up to help the government get rid of the epidemic,” said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin.

Chin was speaking at a dinner held at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club.

Themed ‘One Thousand Hopes’, the dinner was organised by Miri District Pemadam.

He expressed concern over the increasing number of cases of drug addicts in the country, based on statistics from the Report, Planning and Education Unit of the National Anti-Drug Agency.

From January to June this year, data collected and compiled by the National Drug Information System (Bionadi) showed that 12,079 drug addicts were reported – an increase of 361.91 per cent – compared to 2,615 within the same period the previous year.

They comprised 8,984 or 74.38 per cent of new cases, an increase of  507.44 per cent compared to 1,479 within the same period the previous year.

Repeated cases are 3,095 or 25.62 per cent, an increase of 172.45 per cent compared to only 1,138 in same period the previous year.

“On average, 50 new and 17 repeated cases are recorded daily from January to June this year. This phenomenon clearly shows that public awareness on the danger of drugs is still below par,” Chin said.

Hence the need to put more effort into anti-drug programmes to increase their effectiveness.

He also suggested that concerted effort was needed to create a drug-free family, school, workplace and all areas in line with the National Drug Policy objective to stop the supply and demand of drugs.

“As responsible citizens, let’s together release everyone from this epidemic. Once entangled, it’s difficult to free yourselves so prevent it before it spreads, and build a healthy nation free from drug threats by 2015,” he said.

Chin advised the people to report to the authority concerned if they came across anyone involved in drugs.

He thanked Miri Pemadam for organising the dinner and hoped it would continue to organise more talks and exhibition on drugs to raise public awareness.