KUALA LUMPUR: POLICE have urged the public to be to be vigilant about New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) as they could look like medicine.
Federal police Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh said although the drugs were new in the country, the force advised parents or family members of youth to be cautious.
“NPS are new drugs, which usually come in pills or tablets, like medicine. This could confuse the public.
“I advise people, especially parents, to pay attention if their children use or have anything suspicious, because the pills can be mistaken for medicine,” he told the New Straits Times.
He said he was worried NPS were being promoted to new drug users or youngsters as the cost of the substances was lower than established drugs.
He said police did not have details on NPS’ prices yet.
“At the moment, the use of (mainstream) synthetic drugs is popular in Malaysia.”
He said to stop the new threat from spreading, all parties must play their part.
He said police were ready to help the National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada) to organise campaigns to educate people about the danger of NPS.
He said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had detected about 800 NPS, but only 27 were found in the country.
Seven of those detected have been gazetted under the Poisons Act 1952.
“In the future, we would like to categorise NPS under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
“We want to sit down with the Health Ministry, pharmaceutical companies and other agencies to include the drugs under the act.”
Mohmad had said NPS could cause make users extraordinarily active, aggressive and behave uncontrollably, or like “zombies”.
He said the NPS threat was spreading rapidly, such as the new “Flakka” drug popular on social media.
However, he said, police had yet to find any Flakka in the country.
Nada director-general Datuk Dr Abd Halim Mohd Hussin told the NST that NPS referred to any drugs that had not been gazetted under the Poisons Act 1952 or Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
“It exists all over the world. It is a term for newly mixed drugs that have yet to be gazetted.”
He said the agency’s officers found cases of teens mixing drugs without realising how dangerous they were.
“It is especially dangerous when they mix highly potent drugs, as the substances could cause mental disorders. These drugs may also react faster.”
Nada operations deputy director-general Izhar Abu Talib said many factors made it tough for action to be taken against users of such drugs, such as the many types of drugs, the ways they were consumed, kept and distributed and when drugs were mixed with substances not listed under the Poisons Act.
“NPS can damage the brain and nervous system, and affect users’ physiology, pharmacology, psychology, emotion and health faster than those who take conventional drugs.”
He said Nada had been conducting programmes, as well as education and awareness campaigns with other agencies under the National Blue Ocean Strategy, to target high-risk youth and their parents and community at 178 hotspots nationwide.
He said the agency used many avenues to reach its audience, including advertisements, talks and pamphlets.