|Abdul Karim (right) and Fatimah (second right) during the visit. Sharifah Hasidah is seated at second left.|
KUCHING: The number of drug and substance abuse cases involving students is low but the problem must nevertheless be nipped in the bud before it becomes serious.
Chairman of Malaysian Drug Prevention Association (Pemadam) Sarawak Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there was the need to reach out further to educate students and youngsters on the danger of drugs.
“However, we have yet to move beyond Kuching and Samarahan due to budget constraints. We are aware that there are such cases in Bintulu, Limbang, Lawas, Pusa and Beladin,” he said.
Abdul Karim, who is also Assistant Minister for Housing, said this during a courtesy call on Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah at her office here yesterday.
He said most of the incidents in schools were related to substance abuse such as sniffing glue and misusing prescription drugs like Nospan (common drug used for the treatment of cough, cold and other respiratory tract disorders).
“We know this is the early warning sign of the problem where teens are experimenting with drugs. As such, we must nip the potential risks in the bud before they develop into bigger problems,” he said.
Pemadam, he said, would put more effort into creating greater awareness by holding programmes in schools, colleges as well as at the community-level.
“Education is the most effective intervention for the issue. We want to banish the thoughts of going into drugs as if it is something glamourous to do during their youth.”
Many awareness programmes, he said, had been conducted in schools, particularly those which had been reported with minor incidents of drug abuse.
“We want to approach them (schools and students) in a positive manner. We will focus our efforts in areas we have yet to go to this year. We want the school-going children to realise how destructive and dangerous drugs can be to their lives,” he added.
Meanwhile, Fatimah said there was a need to act sternly and strictly eventhough the incidence in Sarawak was relatively low.
“When it comes to drugs, we must nip it in the bud. Prevention is better than cure because when a person becomes an addict, rehabilitation is very difficult and the success rate is not good.
“Our best strategy is prevention and intervention at the earliest stage. Creating awareness about the dangers of drugs, how they can destroy not only individual lives but the entire family, is important,” she said.
Fatimah added that the community at all levels had to play active roles, and together with the support from agencies, enforcement and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), drug abuse can be kept at bay.
State Pemandu board member who is also Assistant Minister for Early Childhood Education and Family Development Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali and Pemandu Sarawak executive secretary Syed Mohammad Junaidi were also present during the visit. -The Borneo Post