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'View drug abuse from mental health perspective'


Malaysia must review the current punishments linked to drug abuse and view it from a mental illness perspective, said the Malaysian Substance Abuse Council (Masac). - NSTP/IZAD THAQIF HASSAN


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must review the current punishments linked to drug abuse and view it from a mental illness perspective, said the Malaysian Substance Abuse Council (MASAC).


Masac secretary-general Raja Azizan Suhaimi said the punishment for drug use in the country was enough, and the offence was no longer considered a crime in many developing countries.


"Many developing countries have adopted this (idea), hence, we need to study the effectiveness of the current punishments for drug abusers and view it from a mental illness aspect.


"Some people take drugs due to depression. Some are naive and have poor self control.


"It is high time that drug abuse is seen as a form of mental illness for first-time offenders.


Raja Azizan said in severe cases, five strokes of the rotan was sufficient for habitual offenders.


On Tuesday, the NST reported that last year, an average of five teenagers a day in Malaysia were becoming hooked on drugs, with 65 per cent of them taking synthetic substances.


The National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada) said from 2019 up to last year, they found nine children, from infants up to 12-years-old, who were addicted to drugs.


Most of them, he added, were influenced by their parents and surroundings.


Raja Azizan said drug addiction among children and infants was not a new phenomenon.


He said the issue would continue as long as there was a lack of knowledge among pregnant women addicted to drugs.


"There has to be better information dissemination on the dangers of drugs to expecting mothers.


"We have also seen cases of babies and children under 5, who were addicted as a result of their mothers' addiction.


"Masac, as a non-governmental organisation with vast experience in the issue, is ready to work with the government to curb such cases through knowledge sharing on various platforms," he said. - NSTP Ads by


"Their record should be expunged after five years of being drug-free," he told the New Straits Times.

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