Halt the drug scourge


Agency: 7 out of every 10 drug addicts caught in Malaysia last year aged between 19 and 39

SIBU: Loud calls for more educational and youth-related programmes are ringing across the country as drug abuse is ensnaring a huge number of youths.

In the first 11 months of last year, of the 7,078 drug addicts rounded up, 4,893 – or 69.13 per cent – were individuals aged between 19 and 39.

According to the National Anti-Drugs Agency’s (AADK), friends had influenced 2,929 of these 7,078 drug addicts, or 42.88 per cent, to get hooked on drugs.

Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye urged the Malaysian Drug Prevention Association (Pemadam) to implement more educational programmes as the bulk of drug addicts were youths.

“The answer to this drug problem is actually prevention. Unless and until you can mount an effective prevention programme, you will be just ‘fire-fighting’ all the time.

“More importantly, is the prevention programme (effective) to stop people from getting hooked on drugs? This is the most practical way, and it requires a concerted effort,” Lee told The Borneo Post.

Lee said sporting activities were also effective in keeping youths from being lured into taking drugs.

“This means the authorities must provide more facilities and amenities, and this can be in the form of futsal, soccer, basketball, badminton and others.

“More programmes need to be rolled out to engage youths because the majority of the drug addicts are young people, who are about 25 to 35 years old.

“They are the most valuable asset to our nation. If they are into drugs, this could lead to their self-destruction, and they will not able to contribute positively to the country’s development,” he told The Borneo Post.

Lee appealed to parents to monitor the movements of their children closely.

Assistant Minister of Youth Development Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah cautioned that drug abuse could ruin the country.

He stated that was why the government had categorised drug abuse as public enemy number one and put in place severe penalties for drug trafficking or it use.

“But despite all the severe penalties and awareness programmes that the government are doing, the use and trafficking of drugs don’t seem to stop. Many are still peddling and consuming it,” he said when contacted.

He said this was partly due to the lackadaisical attitude of the enforcement agencies, corruption, and greed.

“Peddling in drugs brings in big profits,” he said, thus many were willing to “try their luck” as drug mules.

“Many drug users are from the younger generation because of peer influence and trend. The government needs to counter this fast as it is eroding the nation of its precious human asset.”