KUCHING: A total of 558 people in Sarawak were imprisoned for various drug-related offences from June to August this year, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah has revealed.
According to the Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development, this was an increase of 200 per cent over the same period the previous year, in which there were 186 individuals.
Fatimah added that during the same period also, 53 juvenile offenders were imprisoned at Henry Gurney School for various drug-related offences.
“From January to July this year, 68 teens at secondary school level were tested positive by the Sarawak Education Department.
“Those who are positive (for drugs) are provided with intervention in the form of counselling, therapy and rehabilitation,” she explained.
Fatimah spoke to the media on Thursday (Sept 22) following the monthly report on Addressing Drug and Substance Issues (MIDS) meeting and the visit of the federal police Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) director Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.
She said from January to August last year, Sarawak recorded a total of 6,976 arrests related to drugs as a result of 5,044 operations conducted by NCID, Royal Malaysian Customs Department; and National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK).
“Kuching District recorded the highest number of arrests with 1,632 people, followed by Miri (628), Sibu (624), Bintulu (607) and Samarahan (397).
“In terms of gender, 92.66 per cent or 6,464 of the people arrested were men while 7.34 per cent or 512 were women.”
As of Aug 31, a total of 2,490 people were recorded undergoing treatment and rehabilitation and of that number, 216 are undergoing rehabilitation at the Narcotics Addiction Rehabilitation Centre (PUSPEN), another 2,274 in the community, while 1,956 AADK Supervised Persons (OKP), 180 PDRM OKP, 63 at the One-Stop Centre for Addiction (OSCA) and 75 on a regular basis at PUSPEN Kuching.
“As the number of people screened, detected, and referred for treatment and rehabilitation increased, we were able to lower the ratio of urine screening positive arrests to the number of people undergoing official treatment to 1:7 in 2021, down from 1:9 in 2019.
“This ratio suggests that for every person who receives official treatment and rehabilitation, seven more persons do not seek help, this decline demonstrates that we are on the right track in terms of treatment and recovery initiatives, as it is equal to the international average ratio given by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),” Fatimah said.
She said the ministry, through the Sarawak Health Department, had increased the number of OSCAs in appropriate health clinics, making it a total of 20.
“We also developed 129 series of preventive programmes and prevention education at the district level this year.
“Of that total, 41 programmes are integrated enforcement interventions, 88 non-enforcement intervention programmes, nine programmes in educational institutions, and 21 programmes in the workplace.”