Drug and Substance Abuse Act to help rehabilitate drug abusers, addicts, says home minister

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin speaks during a press conference at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya February 2, 2021. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin speaks during a press conference at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya February 2, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The Drug and Substance Abuse Act which will replace the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 will enable many drug abusers and addicts to be rehabilitated instead of being sent to jail.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the change of punishment for drug abusers and addicts from prison sentences to rehabilitation and treatment programme will materialise this year through the new legislation.

He said it was to avoid the stigma of the society which looked negatively on abusers and drug addicts.

“Besides that, it will also facilitate their reintegration into the community and gives them a second chance,” he said in conjunction with the 38th National Anti-Drugs Day on Nada’s 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 being involved in 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.

He said the collaborative and strategic approach among government agencies, private sector and non-governmental organisations would be continued and strengthened for this year and hopefully these would create a more harmonious society and one free from dangerous drugs.

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 and the emergence of new drugs.

He said drug trafficking syndicates were also using technological developments for the wrong purpose and it should be taken into account in formulating strategies to address drug problems, apart from the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic which had hampered the implementation of several Nada services.

“Nevertheless, we at Nada have not given up but instead we try various new alternatives so that the services provided can be better delivered to the community,” he said.

He said all quarters, be it the government, private sector, non-governmental organisations, community leaders and individuals need to work together to ensure that this effort is successfully mobilised and to enhance the effort, various programmes are designed involving various departments with the main focus being on teenagers and youths.

“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 February 19 since 1983. — Bernama

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