By Lian Cheng
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19: Drug abuse, especially the use of Syabu, is on the rise in Sarawak and the society must not be in denial of its severity to resolve the social problem.
Miri General Hospital Psychiatric Unit chief, Dr Bawih Inu Pu’un, said admitting to the existence of this issue is like taking a baby step towards solving the problem.
Quoting the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2017, she deemed that drug use has been very serious in Sarawak.
For drug use, while the average percentage for the whole of Malaysia is 4.3 per cent for “ever use”, Sarawak registered a higher percentage of 5.1 per cent and Sarawak Bumiputera, 6 per cent.
For this group, which is experimenting with drug use, 72.7 per cent was found to be starting before the age of 14 and 17.1 per cent initiated it at the age of seven or younger.
“Only with the acceptance of the fact that drug abuse is a serious problem in Sarawak will the state be able to move onto the next step of restrategising where the root of the problem may be identified.
“Only after identifying the root cause, the preventive measures may be derived and implemented,” she said at the Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2019 at the Malaysia International and Trade Centre here today.
She added that it will take teamwork of the whole society to eradicate the social problems such as drug use, alcohol consumption and teen pregnancy.
Dr Bawih was one of the three panelists speaking at Sarawak Dialogue “Battling Drugs and Other Social Problems on the Home Front” held during the programme. Other panel speakers included Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman and university student Muhammad Syahdad Naqiuddin.
Fazzrudin supported Dr Bawih’s statement that drug abuse has been serious and on the rise, quoting a case in his constituency.
He said once, a urine test targeted at 60 students in a secondary school in his area, the results showed that 80 per cent were tested positive for drug use.
He revealed that there was a statistic that showed there were 11,000 drug addicts in Sarawak.
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the figure has to be multiplied by four, as there are many more unreported cases.
“That is to say, there are about 55,000 drug addicts in Sarawak. The fact is that, it is easy for those so young, who are still in secondary school, to access to drugs at an early age,” he said.
According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2017, there is an increase of 2.5 times of ever drug use and 2.3 times of current drug use among Form 1 to Form 5 students over the five-year period (2012-2017).
He urged those attending the dialogue session to be an influencer among the “circle of influence” that they were in, so that they can slowly extend their influence to the “circle of concern” to curb social problems plaguing Sarawak. — DayakDaily