Sarawak identifies 15 districts as drug abuse red zones

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah (centre) speaking at a press conference after chairing a one-stop committee meeting to address drug and substance abuse issues. She is accompanied by her assistant ministers Datuk Francis Harden (left) and Datuk Rosey Yunus.

KUCHING: Sarawak has identified 15 of the state's 40 districts as high-risk areas for drug and substance abuse, says a state minister.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said high-risk districts, or red zones, were those with over 500 drug-related cases or complaints.

She said another 15 districts were zoned as orange or medium-risk with 50 to 499 cases, nine districts as yellow or low-risk (six to 49) cases and one as white or susceptible to risk (less than five cases), while none was green or having zero cases.

"The zoning of districts was done based on last year's data from the relevant agencies, such as the state narcotics criminal investigation department, National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), customs, health, welfare and education departments and community leaders.

"This forms the base data for us to plan policies and programmes and carry out targeted intervention to tackle drug and substance abuse," she told a press conference after chairing the state's one-stop committee to address drug and substance abuse issues here on Tuesday (Nov 24).

Fatimah said the zoning data included the number of recovering drug addicts, positive urine tests, drug trafficking and possession arrests and drug-related hotline complaints in each district.

She also said Sarawak reported 692 drug-related cases last month, a decline of 27.5% compared to 1,087 cases in September.

Last month's cases, which resulted from 758 enforcement operations and involved 742 arrests, comprised 22 drug trafficking cases, 111 drug possession cases and 559 positive urine tests.

In addition, Fatimah said the AADK was monitoring 1,904 recovering drug addicts in the state as of Oct 30.

"Of this total, 84.4% are on track in their recovery according to their treatment and rehabilitation programme," she said.

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