Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 13, 2007

Needle Exchange Program For Addicts To Be Expanded

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:20 am

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 (Bernama) — The Syringe Needle Exchange Program for drug addicts which was carried out on a pilot project in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor since February last year would be extended to Kuantan in Pahang, Kota Baharu in Kelantan and Alor Setar in Kedah this year.
Health Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Lee Kah Choon told the Dewan Rakyat today that 3,000 addicts were targeted for the program this year.
“Currently, the selection of a non-governmental body (NGO) as the program implementer is being carried out,” he said when replying to Abdul Fatah Harun (PAS-Rantau Panjang).
He said the program aimed to eliminate or reduce the risk of infectious diseases such as the HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C being spread among addicts.
He said the pilot project carried out in Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur, Jelutong in Penang and Ngee Heng in Johor last year involved 1,380 addicts using syringe needles and was run by the Malaysian Aids Prevention Foundation.
“Thirty-seven percent of the program participants received clean needles once a month as replacement for the ones which have been used or contaminated,” he said.
On the supply of free condoms to those with high risk of being infected with HIV/Aids which was raised by Abdul Fatah in a supplementary question, Lee said it should not be perceived as encouraging adultery because efforts at preventing HIV and Aids from spreading to the loved ones were more important.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Internal Security Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum said 22,811 drug addicts were detected throughout last year, a decline of 30.47 percent from 2005.
Of the 22,811 addicts recorded by the National Drugs Information System (Nadi), 10,381 were new addicts while 12,430 were repeat addicts, he said replying to Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).

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