Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 22, 2007

Anti-drug campaigns not effective, says Chua

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:38 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Anti-drug campaigns have not been as effective as hoped and the Health Ministry has urged all parties concerned to ensure such campaigns have continuation and not done on a “once off” basis.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said there were about 20,000 to 30,000 drug users registering themselves with the ministry annually.
“For each drug user that registers, there are 2.5 to 3 more drug users who do not register themselves.
“This puts the total number of drug users in the country between 350,000 to 900,000 which is worrying considering we only have a population of 26 million,” he said.
Dr Chua said fighting the scourge of drugs needed the cooperation of all parties including non-governmental organisations.
“Usually they are involved, but it is usually once off. I urge that such educational programmes be done on a continual basis so that our youths are aware of the dangers and risks of drugs.”
Dr Chua added that about 75% of these drug addicts were below 39 years old, which meant they were in the most productive age group.
“It also cannot be denied that safety issues and cases of HIV, Hepatitis B and C infections are related to drug addicts because they use needles.”
Dr Chua said 70% of the 78,784 HIV carriers in the country were infected via needles.
“However, it must be noted that the number of people getting infected with HIV this year has decreased to 13 per day compared to 17 per day in 2005 because of the effectiveness of harm reduction programmes.”
Dr Chua added that RM300mil would be spent to expand programmes such as the methadone replacement therapy and the needle and syringe exchange programme.

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