Friday, April 28, 2017

Shock waves from the north

Datuk Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: A random urine test carried out by Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) Sarawak on 99 secondary students in four schools in Lawas between Jan and March this year showed that 23 of them were tested positive for drugs.

Although the result is not a conclusive statistic of drugs abuse among secondary school students in Lawas, the alarming ratio of almost one in four students tested positive in that survey has set off the agency’s alarm bells.

According to AADK deputy director Katrina Ujin, although the overall percentage of students in the state tested positive in the survey the agency carried out in the same period is much lower, it is also worrying.

Out of the 1,516 students in 85 schools tested (including those in Lawas) the number of students found positive was 112.

This means the percentage of secondary students involved in drug abuse is 7.4 per cent across Sarawak which warrants immediate attention.

Minister of Welfare, Woman and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah when told of the result of the random tests was shocked by the result especially the situation in Lawas.

“We cannot be in denial mode anymore.  We have to accept the fact that drug dealers are now targeting students,” she told The Borneo Post yesterday.

She said according to some drug addicts who have been rehabilitated, the student substance abusers usually take drugs during weekends.

“The problem is a big one – I urge parents of each family to keep a good eye on your children and make sure that no one in the family is involved in drugs.”

“AADK has been urged to conduct urine test in schools identified and schools need to co-operate.  When found positive, the students must be sent for rehabilitation. Education Department has to put on priority and ease the work of AADK to conduct urine test on students,” said Fatimah

Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum Agong when contacted expressed disbelief in the AADK urine tests results and vowed to look into the issue when he return to his area this weekend.

Henry Sum who is also honorary Commissioner of Rela Lawas called on Rela to be involved in monitoring youth activities in villages to eradicate drug abuse among them.

“We cannot depend only on the police alone.  Drugs are going into the rural areas.  We must get the RELA to help us monitor some of the activities in villages,” said Henry Sum, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department Chief Superintendent Sahar Abdul Latiff said in general the percentage of drug addicts in Lawas is 0.9 per cent out of a population of 37,550.

As of last Tuesday he said his department has conducted 86 raids and 350 persons went through urine test and 137 were arrested.

“To curb drug abuse, the police have arrested three drug dealers under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 (Act 316) commonly known LLPK in 2017.

“We are planning to make more arrests under the same Act.  In terms of enforcement, we found that in Lawas, drug abuse is under control,” Sahar said.

~ Borneo Post

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