Drug abusers in Sarawak double over past two years signal urgent need for action against addiction

Mutang (second left) presenting the mock cheque worth RM5,000 to the representative of Miri Drug Rehabilitation Centre for Youths on April 5, 2024.

By Tedong Rantayy

MIRI, April 6: The surge in drug abusers in Sarawak, soaring from 4,762 in 2018 to 9,645 in 2023, with the highest concentration among the 15-39 age group, indicates the pressing need to tackle drug addiction in the region.

Dewan Negara president Datuk Mutang Tagal highlighted these concerns, referencing statistics from the National Anti-drugs Agency (AADK) showing a steady increase in addicts over the past two years.

Police data further revealed a rise in drug-related arrests from 9,092 in 2022 to 10,365 in 2023, with Miri alone witnessing 852 arrests in 2022 escalating to 1,098 in 2023.

“These numbers underscore the growing challenge of drug-related issues in the region and highlight the need for proactive measures to address them effectively,” he said during a dialogue session with Kenosis Sarawak at Miri Drug Rehabilitation Centre for Youths in Tanjong Lobang yesterday (April 5).

Managed by Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) since 2015, the centre plays a vital role in combating addiction.

As the problem has an alarming impact on the younger generation, Mutang stressed the importance of a comprehensive approach encompassing prevention, treatment, and law enforcement to effectively combat the issue.

“A concerted effort is needed to tackle this societal challenge. Education, community involvement, targeted interventions and support for rehabilitation programmes are essential components in addressing addiction and its societal repercussions,” he added.

Expressing his commitment to support the rehabilitation centre, Mutang pledged resources for facility enhancement, pending identification of a new site.

At the dialogue session, Mutang presented a RM5,000 cheque to support the centre’s initiatives.

Also in attendance were centre supervisor Pastor Robert Danor, along with various government representatives, including the police. — DayakDaily