Proposal to decriminalise drug addiction not finalised

THE proposal to decriminalise drug addiction and possession for personal use is still under discussion, says Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (pic).

He said the issue had been highlighted since 2017 based on feedback from non-governmental orga­ni­sations.

At the same time, efforts are being made to review all current treatment and rehabilitative programmes under the National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) and the Health Ministry.

“Recently, we held a meeting chair­­ed by the Home Minister to discuss the proposal to decriminalise drug addiction (for personal use).

“It is still at the discussion level and we will decide on this as soon as possible,” he told Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (PH-Bagan Serai).

The MP was asking the reason why the ministry had yet to adopt medically assisted therapy and decriminalising drug addiction as well as possession for personal use instead of allocating more funds to build rehabilitation centres.

Mohd Azis said the AADK offered two types of psycho-social intervention treatment, including providing treatments at cure and care rehabilitation centres and clinics that use their own cure and care modules as well as the therapeutic community.

He said AADK would provide treatment through its cure and care service centres and its social integration centre.

“Through this community programme, which involves the partici­pation of NGOs, the government has managed to save on costs by providing services to 53,363 clients under the programme – compared to 6,000 people who received treatment through institutions,” he said.

According to Mohd Azis, the mi­­nis­try spent an average of RM35 to rehabilitate a drug addict per day and would cost about RM1,050 on average per month.

“In the implementation of a ‘harm reduction’ programme at the primary health level, health clinics provide easier access to methadone replacement therapy.

“The AADK has a role in assisting the Health Ministry in terms of psycho-social intervention program­mes to address drug abuse, but medical-assisted therapy is not the only main method to help deal with drug abuse,” he said.

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