Drug addicts need treatment, not scorn, says Wan Azizah

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 07 May 2024

KUALA LUMPUR: Negative stigma surrounding drug addiction must be changed so addicts can receive treatment and professional support, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The Bandar Tun Razak MP said just like everyone else, drug addicts are individuals who make mistakes, but what makes them different is that their mistakes, although minor, are often worsened by substance abuse.

She said with better understanding from society and if given a second chance, drug addicts also have the opportunity to recover and thrive again as every individual has hidden potential.

"Like me in the past. I faced various challenges and criticism when I first got involved in politics. I used to be a doctor treating patients and suddenly I became a politician.

"I didn't even know how to speak as a politician but in the end, I had to learn.

"That's why I believe everyone faces their own challenges and makes mistakes in life. "However, we shouldn't feel small or be judged by society," she said in her speech when officiating the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) Open Day 2024 at the Sungai Besi Drug Rehabilitation Centre (Puspen) here on Tuesday (May 7), which was also attended by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the event aims to raise awareness about the treatment and rehabilitation services offered by AADK.

It also serves as a means to enhance collaborative efforts with government departments, non-governmental organisations and local communities to conduct drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation activities within the community.

In conjunction with the programme, AADK also launched a new online drug treatment and rehabilitation service through the Tele-Hello AADK hotline at 1-800 22 2235 or WhatsApp at 019-626 2233.

"AADK is actively promoting voluntary drug treatment and rehabilitation efforts.

"According to 2023 statistics, 961 voluntary clients received treatment and rehabilitation within institutions, while 1,499 voluntary clients underwent treatment and rehabilitation within the community," she added.

She said the number was significantly lower compared to the clients undergoing mandatory treatment and rehabilitation programmes, which involved 8,958 individuals in Puspen and 63,873 individuals within the community. – Bernama

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