Re-examine strategies to tackle drug abuse among teens, says NGO chief

KUALA LUMPUR: The government and relevant authorities need to re-examine the measures in place to deal with drug abuse among teenagers, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

The Alliance For a Safe Community chairman said a recent study by the Public Health Institute under the Health Ministry revealed that 60,000 teenagers were involved in drug abuse.

"The respondents for the study were teenagers aged between 13 and 17 years old.

"The study also showed that three out of four teenagers started taking drugs as early as 14. It is very alarming," he said when contacted on Sunday (June 4).

Lee said the government and other entities should re-evaluate how effective current approaches have been to reduce drug abuse among teens.

"While there are existing drug prevention and awareness programmes in schools, are the schools and parents doing enough to help the fight drug abuse among young people.

"We should also examine to what extent the teenagers are influenced by their peers to take drugs," he said, adding that authorities should also examine if smoking or vaping among teenagers eventually lead to drug use.

"Authorities should come up with a comprehensive prevention strategy involving all segments of civil society, including parents.

"They should also identify more innovative ways to use social media to their advantage in the fight against drug abuse.

"Past approaches such as prevention campaigns, conferences and seminars have not worked well.

"Given the focus now is on social media, the government should devise appropriate social media strategies to help young people in the fight against drug abuse," he said

"The most important aspect is prevention as once someone is involved in drugs, it will lead to a lot of problems," he said.

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