Addicts to be sent to rehab

THE Home Ministry is amending the law to place drug addicts at National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) rehabilitation centres instead of prisons.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said said the move would address the issue of overcrowding at prisons.

He said the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 would be amended to Drug and Substance Abuse Act.

“The law will be tabled soon. We are working out all the details, ” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Nurul Izzah Anwar (PH-Permatang Pauh).

Nurul Izzah had asked the ministry on its long-term plan to ensure drug addicts were not placed in prisons but at the Cure and Care Rehabilitation Centres instead for more effective rehabilitation.

To the initial question by Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong (GPS-Hulu Rajang) on the areas in Sarawak with the most arrests for drug abuse, Ismail said Kuching registered the highest number with 1,499 people.

“Based on information gathered by the police, AADK, Health Ministry and private drug rehabilitation centres, in the first quarter of 2020, Sarawak recorded 3,998 cases of drug abuse and drug addicts.

“Kuching recorded the highest number of arrests, ” he said.

Ismail noted that the police would cooperate with other agencies to stop drug smuggling via lorong tikus (hidden routes).

“We will identify and take action against those coming from overseas and try to smuggle (drugs) into our country, ” he said.

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