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Sunday August 26, 2012

Drug abuse fight needs more Squad 1Malaysia volunteers

KUCHING: People who are keen to help fight drug abuse in society are invited to join National Anti-Drug Agency’s (AADK) Squad 1Malaysia.

State AADK director Yap Chung Hong said Squad 1Malaysia volunteers could contribute in many ways according to their expertise, knowledge and ability.

“They can contribute in whatever ways — they can give talks, organise programmes for youths, contribute ideas to AADK and help disseminate information on the agency’s roles and services on the ground.”

To date, Sarawak has about 10,000 including a few elected representatives after it was launched in July in the state last year, he said.

Squad 1Malaysia was one of AADK’s approaches to be closer to the people and be more effective in its role to educate and prevent drug abuses; and treat and rehabilitate drug abusers, in line with the government’s target to achieve a drug-free nation, he told The Star here recently.

Based on statistics reported by the AADK, the total of 126,153 new addicts were traced throughout the period of 2000−2008, on average involved 14,017 addicts each year in the country.

According to the National Statistics Department, the number of drug addicts in Sarawak has reduced significantly from about 800 to 100 between 2006 and 2008.

Yap said the AADK had changed some of its approaches to combat drug addiction in the recent years.

He said the agency’s services had improved to make education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation efforts more effective nationwide.

In Sarawak, these new approaches helped to complement the agency’s Cure and Care Rehabilitation Centre (CCRC) at Mile 6, he said.

The centre catered to those who had been arrested by the police and housed for two years under the court’s order under the Drug Dependent (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983, he explained.

In 2010, he said, AADK introduced Cure and Care 1Malaysia Clinic which allowed those with drug addiction problem to come for treatment and counselling voluntarily.

Those who came to the clinic, located in front of CCRC, would be assessed and treated between one and two months.

“The response at the 1Malaysia Clinic has been quite encouraging and so far the clinic has received nearly 200 people aged between 15 and 25. The number of drug addicts in the state are still low and under control,” he said.

Their drug addiction varied from nospan to methamphetamine and ketamine, and some were multiple substance users, he disclosed, adding that some parents handed in their children for treatment at the clinic.

“The turnover at the clinic is fast because they come in voluntarily as in and outpatients without having any police record and court order. The services offered at the clinic is the same as CCRC and these are free of charge,” he said.

Among others, religious classes, individual and group counselling, mental development sessions and living skills workshops are held at CCRC and clinic. Presently, AADK has eight 1Malaysia Clinics nationwide.

Yap said due to the state’s size and geography, AADK set up mini Cure and Care 1Malaysia Clinic in Miri to cater to the needs of those in the northern region.

The agency had also set up the Cure and Care Service Centre (CCSC) to complement CCRC and 1Malaysia clinics, he said.

CCSC, which is more community-based, was first established in Kuching in 2009.

“New CCSC will be opened in Limbang, Sibu and Sri Aman by this October,” he added.

He said those with drug and other addiction problems such as smoking, glue sniffing and alcohol could also seek help from CCSC.

“If CCSC can’t meet patients’ needs, we will refer them to other agencies for help,” he said.

CCSC’s programmes and activities were tailored to integrate patients with the community so that the former would not feel isolated by the society, Yap pointed out.

Among others, he said, gotong-royong and support and peer groups meetings would be held with participation from former addicts.

AADK introduced all these in line with its mission to give better services to the people.

Yap said another new service, Caring Community House (CCH) started in Kuching in 2010 and in Bintulu last year, with one coming up in Mukah this October.

“It’s another way to fight drug abuse because the government can’t address the problem alone – it needs community support.

“CCH is run by a committee comprising social workers, academicians and NGO representatives,” he said.

CCH in Kuching is located at the old prison quarters in Mile 6, Kampung Asyakirin community hall in Bintulu and Kampung Judan community hall in Mukah.

On prevention, Yap said its education section held awareness talks at schools, workplaces and villages throughout Sarawak everyday, adding that AADK also carried out urine tests on the public from time to time.

For more information on AADK’s services, contact 082-233 540 (headquarters), 082-426 415 (Kuching District), 084-325 811 (Sibu District) and 085-420 068 (Miri district) and 082-612 411 (Cure and Care 1Malaysia Clinic), or visit