KEPALA BATAS: After 20 years of fighting the drug menace, the country has to start the war all over again in the face of new synthetic drugs like syabu, Ecstasy and amphetamines.
Acting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the fight against drug abuse must now involve all quarters, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector as well as community leaders and parents.
He said the Government had yet to achieve its objective of wiping out drug abuse despite ongoing campaigns since 1983.
Twenty years have passed. We should now review our methods of fighting the menace, he said when launching the national anti-drug abuse campaign here yesterday.
The Government took 30 years to fight the threat of communism but we are still fighting hard to wipe out the drug menace, he said, adding that it would be an ongoing fight.
Abdullah, who is also Home Minister, said that since previous methods had failed to achieve the desired results, a more concerted effort and new approaches were needed to combat the menace.
The country was now facing new challenges due to the production of sophisticated synthetic drugs like syabu, Ecstasy and amphetamines, he said, pointing out that drug addicts contributed to increasing crime rates with about 50% of prison inmates being from this group.
Besides crime, addicts also form the largest number of HIV and AIDS cases among the more than 51,000 cases reported since 1986.
Abdullah said that since 1988 the country had on record nearly 235,500 drug addicts, which is about 1% of the countrys population. He said that last year the number of new addicts was almost 32,000.
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