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                              Report: Drug addicts on the increase

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The Sun ( 28 September 1998 )


Petaling Jaya, Sunday: The number of drug addicts in Malaysia increased in the first eight months of this year, the National Narcotics Agency ( NNA ) reported today. A survey has also indicated that youths account for the bulk of drug addicts, with most of them being educated only up to primary school level. PEMADAM vice-president Datuk Lee Lam They said that 14,507 cases were reported this year. New addicts account for 9,546 and there are also 4,961 relapse cases. lee stated that Selangor recorded the most cases this year with 2,016, followed by Kuala Lumpur with 1,928, Pahang 1,824, johor 1,620 and Penang 1,457. He said despite the significant increase in Sabah with more than 500 cases, Sarawak recorded the lowest with just more than 20 cases this year. From a survey conducted by the National Drug Information System, it is revealed that more than 80% of the addicts in the country were aged between 15 and 35. The reports also showed that 96.3% of the addicts had at least six years of basic education and 3.1% of them started using drugs while in school. "PEMADAM is viewing this latest statistic seriously since the current pattern of drug addiction is not showing a downward trend compared with previous years," said Lee. PEMADAM believes that the only answer to this problem lies in prevention. lee urged for priority on prevention by all anti-drug agencies. "In this connection, PEMADAM is pleased to note that the NNA will implement the Students' Resilience and Interpersonal Skills Development Education ( STRIDE ) programme in 61 primary schools nationwide this year," he added.