Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Sweeping Sarawak schools clean

KUCHING: The National Association for the Prevention of Drugs (Pemadam) will carry out more random checks at Sarawak schools to combat drugs misuse among students.

State Pemadam chairman Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the agency was collaborating with the police and other authorities in the operation that would include random drug test on students.

Abdul Karim, who is also the Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, added that in the past year, 247 students were tested positive for drugs from the urine samples taken during the spot checks.

Kuching recorded the highest number of cases at 34.

“The operations will be discreet and we will not reveal the schools to avoid causing alarm to parents and the local communities. At the same time, the narcotics department are carrying out surveillance for drug pushers and syndicates who distributed the drugs in schools.

“We are also hoping the school authority, parents and the public to be more vigilant on drug activities among students,” he told reporters after chairing the state Pemadam steering committee meeting here yesterday.

Abdul Karim said advance communication tools including improved courier services and wider road access had made it easier for syndicates to distribute drugs across the state, especially in the rural areas.

He assured that enforcement agencies and other drug prevention authorities were stepping up their game to combat the spread of illicit drugs in Sarawak.

“The trend in drug abuse has changed over the past 40 years. The tendency in drug usage has also shifted towards synthetic drugs, which can be made in makeshift labs inside a house, flat, apartment and so on.

“The authorities are working around the clock to watch the distribution of illegal drugs to nab the middle person and kingpins,” he added.

On a positive note, Abdul Karim said Sarawak was placed third bottom among all states throughout the country in terms of drug cases.

“Despite these cases, Sarawak is not as chronic when compared to other states, we must work hard to control the spread of drugs. We must be quick to go to the ground if we hear of drug abuse cases, especially if it involved schools.

“At the same time, the community leaders must also report the drug activities in their area,” he added.

Abdul Karim said the authorities were also monitoring drug movement and misuse at higher learning institutes. -TheStar

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