To fight misery of drugs, each must do his part

Published: 29 October 2014



DRUG abuse is a major public health problem that impacts society on multiple levels. Despite the government spending millions a year on its drug eradication programme, the number of drug addicts detected each year has not abated, with many of them being recidivists.

Drug addiction can be treated. After many years of research, many nations have come to recognise that drug addiction, like heart disease, cancers and diabetes, is a complex disease that can be treated and managed from a medical point of view.

In addition, treatment reduces the risk of HIV infection and can improve the prospects for employment.

Despite the fact that attitudes are changing rapidly these days, drugs remain a taboo for many people.

The negative perception is exacerbated by the more serious issue of HIV/AIDS infection through intravenous drug use.

Anyone can fall prey to drug addiction. There is no easy solution to the problem of stigma associated with drug addiction and its treatment.

We, therefore, have to fight this stigma and we should realise that drug addicts are victims. Instead of casting judgment on them, we must help them and work to improve access to treatment facilities.

The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations of Malaysia is spearheading programmes to reach out to those who may be affected by drug abuse at the very early stages of the disease.

The programme seeks to educate the public to view drug addiction as a chronic disease, rather than as a social ill or weakness.

It is hoped that by raising awareness, more people suffering from substance abuse and chemical dependency will come forward to receive the help that they need to live free of drugs

The key strategy is to encourage treatment of drug addiction at the earliest stage in a supportive family-oriented environment in the community. With this approach, it is possible for addicts to return to a useful and normal life as soon as possible during their period of recovery.

Drugs create misery, bringing distress, disease, poverty and crime. To combat this threat, the responsibility does not rest on one party.

It is crucial that government agencies, non-governmental organisations, law enforcement agencies, rehabilitation centres, social and welfare institutions and the medical fraternity cooperate and collaborate to develop more effective approaches to combat and manage drug addiction. Solidarity, commitment and action from everyone are key factors here. Only then can we hope to make headway in our quest for a drug addiction-free nation.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, vice-chairman, Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation


Originally published in


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