KUCHING, Nov 12: A total of 7,104 people were arrested for drugs involvement and substance abuse this year.
What made the figures more alarming is the continuing rise in number of students showing positive drug use from evidences obtained through urine tests, said Welfare, Community Well being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
She added that according to data produced by the state Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department (NCID), a total of 6,953 and 6,834 individuals were arrested respectively in 2017 and 2018 for drugs-related offences under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
“The worrying part this year is that up to September this year, there were already 56 drug traffickers arrested. The figures for a full year in 2017 and 2018 were lower at 46 arrests each,” she told a press conference at the Media Room of the DUN complex here today.
Fatimah expressed gratitude to the police for their drastic enforcement efforts and increased operations to combat drug activities.
“Many social issues such as crime, dysfunctional family institutions, sexually transmitted infections and mental health issues are associated with drugs and substances abuse. We must put a stop or cut off drug supplies,” she continued.
Fatimah added that as of September this year, police have carried out 3,196 operations related to drug activities, as compared to 2,085 operations in 2017 and 2,734 operations in 2018.
To ensure that the whole chain of issues related to drug and substance abuse in Sarawak is addressed holistically and effectively, she said her ministry will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and strategic partners in implementing integrated drug prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and enforcement programmes.
“Such collaboration has resulted in an upward trend in the number of seizures and arrests of those involved in drug abuse, drug abusers undergoing treatment and rehabilitation and implementation of preventive and intervention programs,” she said.
This year, police has seized RM2.6 million worth of drugs involving syabu/methamphetamine (7.3kg), marijuana (2.3kg), ketamine (5.8kg) ecstasy pills (4.2kg) eramin 5 (4,113 pills) and Nospan (2,954 pills).
The Customs Department recorded a seizure of 26,977 ecstacy pills, 13kg of ketum leaves, 2,240 eramin 5 pills, 3.8kg ketamine and 14kg methamphetamine.
The latest seizure at Kuching International Airport on Oct 30 was 10 kg of methamphetamine, she said.
“The ministry, through its One Stop Committee on Addressing Drug and Substance Issues (OSC MIDS), has implemented 57 Drug and Substance Use (OBID) Integrated Operations programs.
“With the existing and planned collective collaboration and integrated efforts on illicit drugs and substances issues set up in the state, district and village levels in Sarawak, common hiccups and obstacles can be overcome.”
Fatimah said the way forward for Sarawak is to address the complete cycle in the chain of drug use from enforcement to prosecution, treatment, rehabilitation. — DayakDaily