THE number of students who tested positive for drug abuse has dropped as of October this year compared to last year. This is based on a report by the Sarawak Education Department, said Community Wellbeing Assistant Minister Datuk Francis Harden Hollis.

He said this improvement is despite the fact that more schools and students were made to undergo the test. He said this in reply to a question from Datuk Idris Buang (GPS-Muara Tuang) on the effectiveness
of programmes carried out by the state government to address drug abuse in schools and its related issues such as unemployment among youths.

“This year, 3,649 students from 182 secondary schools in Sarawak were tested, with 274 students found drug-positive compared to last year, whereby 2,967 students from 160 secondary schools were examined and 301 students tested positive," he elaborated.

This, Francis said, indicated that drug intervention efforts carried out have been fruitful. Drug detection urine tests at secondary schools are conducted twice yearly by the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), he explained.

Harden flanked by Dr Rundi and Rosey (right) arriving at the DUN complex.

He stated that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) via the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID) have also developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) which was approved on January 10 this year to also address issues of drug abuse in schools in the state.

“Since its approval, up to October this year, 56 drug dealers were identified to have distributed drugs to students. Action has been taken against them under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 [Act 316]," he said.

To further address the issue of drug abuse in schools, he said an anti-drug education special officer has been placed in all District Education Offices.

“They are responsible to aid in coordinating anti-drug education programmes in the schools under their supervision." On rehabilitation efforts, he said there were Cure and Care Rehabilitation Centres (CCRCs).

“To eradicate drug abuse and distribution in Sarawak, the ministry has established One Stop Committee (OSC) to address drugs and substance abuse issues (MIDS) at the state and district levels, including in Kapit," Francis said.

He revealed that as of October this year, of the 25 districts identified, 23 have established such committee.

“For other districts, OSCs would be formed in the near future."

>Sources: New Sarawak Tribune