KUALA LUMPUR: The number of teens caught for drug peddling and abuse is getting alarmingly high, with 7,412 teens arrested last year, of which 89 were only 13 years old.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, says Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff.
“There are many more unrecorded cases,” he said. “In 2014, 4% of those arrested were still in school while last year, it was 5%.”
Comm Mohd Mokhtar cited peer pressure, exposure, neglect and lack of parental guidance as reasons why some youth were drawn to drugs at such a young age.
“Most of them also do drugs for fun, the lifestyle or when they’re depressed,” he said.
“The highest arrests of youths below 18 in recent years would be in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, we arrested 8,376 teens while 7,915 were arrested the following year.
“Although there is a decrease by 2.8%, it is still alarming,” he said.
While it is a serious issue, Comm Mohd Mokhtar said statistics showed a downward trend with a total number of cases last year dropping by 580.
However, the number of 13-year-olds arrested for drug-related offences went up from 76 to 89.
“Proactive measures must be put in place to curb this problem. These children usually come from broken families and lack moral or religious education. Some also have social problems,” he said.
Although police do not provide counselling, Comm Mohd Mokhtar said they were working closely with the Education Ministry by providing details of arrested students.
“We are also active in organising awareness campaigns in primary and secondary schools by placing liaison officers schools to monitor problems faced by students,” he said.
Poverty and neglect driving kids to drugs