Declare total war on drug menace

  • Letters
  • Monday, 27 Jan 2003

Comment by V.K. Chin

THE only effective way of dealing with the drug menace is to declare a total war against it.  

The Government is therefore right to adopt such an approach in dealing with this scourge to those addicted to it. 

Half measures will just not do and it is time that those involved in combating it should show greater determination and commitment in eradicating it. 

The major issues to be tackled are trafficking, addiction and rehabilitation.  

So far, the Government has been very serious in dealing with syndicates and their members who smuggle the drugs from overseas. 

The laws have been amended to include the mandatory death penalty for those convicted of such offences and their property being seized so that their families would not be able to enjoy such ill-gotten gains. 

Many traffickers and pushers have been hanged for such an offence but there are others who are prepared to take the risk because of the huge profits involved. 

The agencies involved in anti-smuggling activities, such as the police and the Customs Department must always be on their toes to cut the supply lines so that the amount of such drugs available can be minimised. 

It is also good that the Government is giving more money to Pemadam, the national association for the prevention of drug abuse, to carry out its activities. 

Prevention is perhaps the most important measure to be taken in the fight against drug abuse.  

If the public, especially the young, are made aware of the dangers of taking drugs, they can be persuaded to stay away from it. 

But the greatest concern has to do with rehabilitation as this is the most difficult and expensive part of the whole campaign.  

They (drug users) must first be helped to overcome the addiction and then to educate society to accept them back as normal people again. 

They will find difficulty in getting jobs so that they can become useful citizens again and if they should remain unemployed for long, they may be frustrated and go back to taking drugs. 

It is a good idea to get those living in rehabilitation centres to be given part time work and the companies involved in such a scheme must be convinced that once cured, the former addicts can become reliable workers too. 

If they can find part time jobs, the rehabilitated ones will find life more meaningful as there is nothing more important to self esteem as being able to stand on one's own feet financially. 

But it will not be easy to get companies to join such a programme and the Government, Pemadam and other NGOs must make a serious attempt to convince the employers so that the reformed addicts will have a new lease of life. 

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