KUCHING, April 10 ― A total of 11,470 arrests including 48 secondary school students were made between January to December last year for drugs and substance abuse offences.

In revealing this, the One-Stop Committee (OSC) to Tackle Drug and Substance Issues in Sarawak said 7,841 enforcement actions were carried out by the Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department, Customs Department and National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) Sarawak last year.

“From the 11,470 arrests made, 564 individuals were arrested for drug peddling, 2,066 people were arrested for possession, and the remaining 8,840 individuals were tested positive for drugs and substances abuse,” it said in a report.

From the operations last year, an estimated RM151 million worth of illicit drugs and substances were seized by the authorities, showing a sharp increase of over 1,443 per cent as compared to the RM9.7 million worth of narcotics seized in 2022.

The OSC is chaired by Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah with the committee members comprising the police, Customs Department, AADK Sarawak, Health Department, Education Department, Prisons Department, Welfare Department, and the Social Development Council.

The committee said the number of arrests made last year reflected a 12.04 per cent increment compared with 2022’s 10,237 arrests.

In terms of districts, Kuching led with 3,466 arrests, followed by Sibu (1,280), Miri (1,277), Bintulu (939), Kota Samarahan (605) and Sarikei (592).

About 92.83 per cent, or 10,648 individuals arrested last year were male, the committee said.

As for age groups, 22.96 per cent of the individuals arrested last year were aged between 25 and 29; 20.85 per cent aged between 30 and 34; 18.47 per cent (19-24 years); 17.65 per cent (35-40years); 17.05 per cent (above 41 years), and the remaining three per cent were aged below 18. ― The Borneo Post