PUTRAJAYA: Up to 3.2 million Malaysians nationwide are living in areas considered ‘high risk’ due to rampant drug trafficking and abuse, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said today.
He said various factors – including the prevalence of drug pushers and changing lifestyles – have given rise to the high-risk areas.
The minister also raised the alarm on the implications of a rising trend in drug addiction, which includes loss of productive manpower.
“The trend in drug abuse has changed of late, (with drug users moving) from plant-based drugs such as marijuana and heroin, to (more harmful) synthetic drugs such as syabu and ecstasy.
“Previous media reports have also shown that (a high proportion of) violent crimes in the country, such as murder, are due to drug abuse,” he said in his speech at the launch of the 2019 National Anti-Drug Month here, today.
Mohd Azis also highlighted the emergence of psychoactive drugs, also known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), across the globe.
“As of Dec 2017, the emergence of NPS was reported in 111 countries.
“In 2009, 340 NPS (cases) were (uncovered in Malaysia), but this number increased to 803 in 2017, which is an increase of 136 per cent,” he added.
However, methamphetamine drugs such as syabu and ‘pil kuda’, as well as heroin, were still the drugs of choice among abusers in the country in 2018.
The number of drug seizures by authorities also rose dramatically in the past year – in 2017, only RM292.2 million worth of drugs were confiscated, but this rose to RM516.3 million last year.
“This goes to show that drug syndicates (are becoming bolder and) are willing to do whatever it takes to gain profit, without worrying about the law and the effects (of drugs on) the country,” he added.
Hosted by the National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada), the inauguration of the 2019 National Anti-Drug Month also saw the launch of the Fun Ride Against Drugs cycling programme.
Themed “Our Community, Our Responsibility”, the programme advocates healthy and clean living, and steers communities away from undesirable activities. - Additional reporting by Hashini Kavishtri Kannan