‘Re-examine ways to deal with teenage druggies’

KUALA LUMPUR: The efforts and measures taken to deal with drug abuse among teenagers have to be re-examined, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

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

“The respondents for the study, conducted from June 12 to July 8 last year, were teenagers aged between 13 and 17.

“The study also showed that three out of four teenagers started taking drugs as early as 14 years old. It is very alarming,” he said.Thus, the government and other entities should re-examine their approaches towards addressing the problem and look at how effective such methods had been, Lee said.

“Past approaches such as prevention campaigns, conferences and seminars had not worked well.

“Given that the focus now is on social media, the government should devise appropriate social media strategies to help young people,” he said.

“While there are existing drug prevention and awareness programmes in schools, are the schools and parents doing enough to help in ensuring the success of the battle against drug abuse among young people?

“We should also study to what extent the teenagers are influenced by their peers to take drugs,” he said.

The authorities should also examine the extent of smoking and vaping leading teenagers to drug abuse, he added.

“I feel that the authorities should come up with a comprehensive prevention strategy involving all segments of society,” he said.

“The authorities should also identify more innovative ways to use social media to their advantage in the fight against drug abuse.

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