KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Rumah Pengasih disputed popular perception that drug users only comprised school dropouts and those from poor social backgrounds.
Ramli Abd Samad, president of one of the country’s oldest drug rehabilitation centres, told Bernama that many drug users were highly educated and professionally trained. This even included doctors and medical personnel.
“Many people are using it for work purposes, such as to boost confidence while giving presentations and so on.”
“This is because some modern drugs also can boost concentration and energy,” he said.
He pointed out that existing anti-drug campaigns were outdated and no longer relevant to the current generation.
He said to Bernama that Malaysia did not even have a helpline to offer assistance and support for those using drugs and trying to break free of addiction.
“For social problems such as depression and abuse, there are dedicated helplines – but for drug addicts, there is no support system.”
“They (drug users) want to change but there is no strong support from family and society.”
“The situation is getting complicated and drug users now are increasingly dangerous and violent. It is time for the country’s support system to help drug addicts in a more serious manner,” he said.
Dr Sasitharan Ayanai, Rumah Pengasih’s in-house doctor, told Bernama that he started experimenting with methamphetamine nine years ago to boost his energy during long work shifts of up to 48 hours when he was a houseman.
“At that time, I was stressed (from work). I was introduced to methamphetamine and it was the booster I needed for long working hours,” he said.
“I thought that as a doctor, I would be able to keep it under control. I was wrong as the drugs got a hold of me and I became a hardcore addict.”