KUCHING: Twenty-two students, three police officers and six army personnel were among the 5,639 people arrested for drug and substance offences in Sarawak from January to July 15 this year.
The rest were 5,572 jobless people and 11 odd job workers.
Head of Sarawak Narcotics Crime Investigation Department Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jasmirol Jamaluddin said drug and substance abuse cases in Sarawak had been increasing over the years.
He said that last year, there were 8,506 drug and substance abuse arrests compared to 6,384 in 2018.
He revealed this at a press conference held in conjunction with the One Stop Committee (OSC) report on handing drug and substance abuse at Baitul Makmur Building here on Thursday (July 16).
Jasmirol said many of those arrested this year were between 19 and 24 and that more males were involved in drugs and substance abuse compared to women.
OSCs to address drug and substance abuse were first established by the Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry in 2018.
“This year, the government has approved the opening of OSCs in all districts of Sarawak,” said Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
She added that the OSCs had been established in 29 districts so far.
Fatimah said members of the centres had been actively involved in operations/intervention programmes to handle the drug and substance abuse issues.
A total of 143 such operations/programmes had been conducted in Sarawak since August 2018 until June this year.
“With the same focus that is given towards intervention in the form of enforcement and non-enforcement, my ministry is confident that the cases can be minimised,” added Fatimah.