Plan to treat addicts as patients okayed


Majlis Sambutan Peringatan Hari Anti dadah Dan Majlis Perasmian Simposium Sains Penagihan Dadah Kebangsaan 2024. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposal to amend the law on drug dependents, including to recognise those with drug addictions as patients instead of addicts, has been approved by the Cabinet, says the Home Ministry.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the amendments to the Bill had also been cleared by the Attorney General.

“We will no longer criminalise addiction.

“National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) rehabilitation officers will also be able to evaluate and assess potential drug rehabilitation cases.

“In the past, such cases had to be referred to medical officers, but with the amendments, AADK officers will be able to evaluate and approve cases for rehabilitation.

“It will expedite the rehabilitation intake process without compromising the assessment and evaluation,” he said.

He said the Home Ministry hoped to table the amendments to the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 during the current Parliament session.

“We’ve registered it on the Parliament schedule.

“We are awaiting our turn, and we hope we can get the opportunity to table the amendments to the Bill during this Parliamentary session, which ends on July 18,” he told reporters after launching the National Science Symposium on Drug Addiction yesterday.

Saifuddin Nasution said a briefing for MPs was held in Parliament yesterday outlining the clauses of the amendments.

“There are 29 clauses of the amendments that will be debated once the amendments are tabled,” he said.

According to him, the amendments to the law will be a game changer because they will encourage more addicts to come willingly to AADK to be rehabilitated.

“We hope its impact will lead to more addicts coming forward voluntarily (for rehab).

“Those who come forward willingly will end up in rehab instead of prosecution and, subsequently, prison.

“In the long run, it can also solve the prison overcrowding problem,” he said.

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