KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 – The highest drug addiction rates per capita this year were recorded in Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, according to the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK).
Bernama reported AADK director-general Sutekno Ahmad Belon as saying that these states in the north and east coast recorded the highest drug addiction rates per 100,000 population, while Selangor, the most populous state, reported the highest number of people using drugs.
He added that drug addiction cases increased by 27 per cent in the first six months of the year to 118,820 people, compared with 93,534 reported in the same period in 2022.
AADK aims to reduce drug addiction rates to 400 per 100,000 population nationwide by 2025, from 426 cases per 100,000 people last year.
“More than 137,000 drug addicts were recorded last year and 65 per cent of the total number involved youth and teenagers,” Sutekno was quoted telling reporters at the AADK Media Appreciation Ceremony in Kuala Selangor last night.
He reportedly said having too much free time was one of the main contributing factors for adolescents to get involved in drug abuse.
According to AADK, synthetic drugs are more commonly used in Malaysia than organic drugs, based on trends over the past five years.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (law and institutional reform) Azalina Othman Said said recently that the government is reviewing legislations related to criminal punishments for drug abuse by taking a medical or rehabilitation approach instead, in line with international developments.
“The unity government sees the issue of drug abuse as not only a criminal issue, but a health issue that impacts society in terms of socioeconomic and health perspectives,” she said.