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                         How to go about being free of dadah abusers
 

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News Straits Times ( 7 September 1998 )

 

STARTING September 1, all newly registered ex-dadah addicts will be placed under police supervision for up to two years. Under the supervisory system, the police monitor the movements and whereabouts of ex-addicts who are required to report to the police station every month. This was among several provisions of the Drug Addiction ( Treatment and Rehabilitation ) Amended Act 1998 passed by the Parliament last December. Prior to the amendment, the police were only involved in detaining dadah addicts and sending them to rehabilitation centres. According to National Dadah Agency director-general Datuk Bakri Omar, under the amended Act, the police - apart from monitoring the progress of the former addicts - would also have to ensure that they abided by rules. According to the agency, ex-addicts are not allowed to leave their district or residence without police permission or to take, use or possess ant type of drug. Failure to adhere to the provisions of the Act will render them liable to imprisonment and whipping. This tough move by the Government is necessary to ensure the effectiveness and success of treatment and rehabilitation programmes. it spends millions of ringgit annually on treatment and rehabilitation but the success rate has been low with less than 20 per cent turning over a new leaf. The majority of those released from Pusat Serenti after a two-year stay became addicts again, primarily due to lack of willpower and community support, and an inability to secure jobs. Compelling these former addicts to undergo two-year pollice supervision will undoubtedly keep them in check and prevent them from going back to dadah. Enforcing the amended Act will entail additional responsibilities for the police force. They must, however, discharge their duties diligently and responsibly so that the number of repeat dadah offenders can be reduced. To ensure effectiveness of the treatment and rehabilitation programme, it is only appropriate that the rehabilitation centres be classified into various categories, i.e. for hardcore, moderate and teenage addicts. There should also be voluntary rehabilitation centres based on the community approach. In the final analysis, working towards a drug-free Malaysia by the year 2023 as projected by the Government requires more than rehabilitation. Rehabilitation should go hand-in-hand with preventive programmes involving the home, society and the workplace. The active roles of parents and the community are vital to ensure that addiction among youths does not become more prevalent.