State records 27.5 percent decrease in drug, substance abuse cases

Fatimah (second right) shows the newly launched Guideline for One Stop Committee (OSC) for Management in Handling Drugs and Substances Issues (MIDS) for Sarawak State and District Level. Also seen (from left) are the ministry’s acting permanent secretary Caroline Cleophas Joseph, Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, and Assistant Minister of Community Wellbeing Datuk Francis Harden Hollis. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded a 27.51 percent decrease in cases of drug and substance abuse in October compared to September.

This was revealed by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

She said 692 cases involving 742 arrests related to enforcement on drug and substance abuse were recorded in Sarawak in October as a result of 758 operations.

“Of these, 22 cases involving 43 arrests were on the offence of supplying and distributing drugs and substances,” she said at a press conference on the One Stop Committee’s (OSC) monthly report on addressing drug and substance abuse (MIDS) for the month of October at the Baitul Makmur II Building here today.

She said 111 cases involving 146 arrests were on the offence of possession of drugs and substances.

“For the offence of positive urine drug test under Section 15(1)(a), Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, a total of 559 cases involving 553 arrests were recorded.

“The number of arrests recorded relating to positive urine tests this month has shown a decrease of 4.63 percent compared to September, whereby 778 arrests were recorded,” she said.

With regard to drug and substance abuse among secondary school students, she said 80 students had tested positive via urine tests thus far this year.

Of this total, Fatimah said nine (11.25 percent) had succeeded in freeing themselves from drug abuse as their urine tested negative in the second and third follow-up tests while they were undergoing treatment, rehabilitation, and counselling in school.

“We would like the state education department to continue with this good work. We have received good feedback that some of these students who freed themselves from drug abuse have furthered their studies at institutions of higher learning, and some have gained employment as well,” she said, urging for intervention and rehabilitation efforts to be continued by the relevant agencies.

Based on the OSC MIDS October report, thus far this year, Sarawak has recorded 10,201 arrests relating to drug and substance abuse activities as a result of operations carried out by the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (JSJN) of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) Sarawak.

Of this total, Kuching district recorded the highest number of arrests at 3,251 (31.8 percent) followed by Miri district with 1,065 arrests (10.4 percent), Bintulu district with 980 (9.6 percent), Sibu district with 830 (8.1 percent), and Samarahan district with 509 arrests (4.9 percent).

Emphasising OSC MIDS’ enforcement achievements from 2018 up until now, Fatimah said 12,591 enforcement operations and 27,684 arrests had been recorded, with the total amount of seized drugs and substances in this period valued at RM34.3 million. 

During the press conference, she also showed a map of the districts of Sarawak colour-coded based on the risk level in terms of drug and substance abuse case statistics last year.

Last year, there were 15 high-risk districts (categorised as red with 500 cases and above), 15 medium-risk districts (orange with 50 to 499 cases), nine low-risk districts (yellow – six to 49 cases), and one susceptible district (white – five cases and below). There were no green districts with zero cases and complaints.

She said enforcement efforts by relevant agencies and departments had shown a positive impact in the community, such as more people coming forward to provide information on drug abuse activities, more individuals and families involved in drug and substance abuse voluntarily coming forward to receive treatment and rehabilitation, and more awareness and advocacy programmes in the community.