KUALA LUMPUR: Drug abusers and addicts will be rehabilitated instead of being sent to jail when the proposed Drug and Substance Abuse Act replaces the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 later this year.
Home minister Hamzah Zainudin said the change of approach towards drug abusers and addicts – from prison sentences to rehabilitation and treatment programmes – will happen this year and would remove the stigma they carry in society, which looked negatively at abusers and drug addicts.
“Besides that, it will also facilitate their reintegration into the community and give them a second chance,” he said in conjunction with the 38th National Anti-Drugs Day on the National Anti-Drugs Agency’s (NADA) Facebook Live session today.
Hamzah said the theme “Lebih Baik Cegah” (Prevention is Better) was chosen for this year’s National Anti-Drugs Day celebration to remind all parties to play a proactive role to protect themselves and individuals under their responsibility from dangerous drugs.
The minister also said that in line with the increasingly complex challenges and problems to meet the target of “Dadah Terkawal 2025” (Control of Drugs 2025), the government will also continue to intensify efforts involving all parties and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, NADA director-general Sutekno Ahmad Belon said the agency was very concerned with the current challenges of drug abuse and the increase in synthetic drug abuse as well as the emergence of new drugs.
He said drug trafficking syndicates were also using technological developments for the wrong purpose and this should be taken into account when formulating strategies to address drug problems. The Covid-19 pandemic, too, has hampered the implementation of several NADA services, he said.
“Among the programmes implemented is the ‘Solidariti Anak Muda Bebas Dadah’ (Drug-Free Youth Solidarity) which provides a platform for teenagers and youths across the country to express their stance in refusing to be involved in drug abuse,” he added.
The National Anti-Drugs Day has been celebrated on Feb 19 since 1983.