Report: Increased availability of drugs, stress among reasons behind increase of drug addicts in Pahang

STRESS, along with the easy availability of drugs (yes, even online through smartphone applications these days) have been identified as factors that contribute to the rise in the number of drug addicts in Pahang this year.

According to a Berita Harian report, Pahang National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) director Zirwatul Ahlam Zamzam has revealed that as of May 2023, the state recorded 2,515 drug addicts, an increase from 2,308 recorded last year.

While noting that the drug abuse problem in the state remains under control, Zirwatul noted that there has been a slight rise this year due to an increase in the availability of drugs that are considered to be user-friendly.

“While previously there is only one drug source, times have changed and you can now place orders for your drugs of choice via a mobile application and you can get your stash via cash on delivery,” she was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Zirwatul further pointed out that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, among the areas that became “favourite” haunts among drug addicts were old abandoned buildings as well as oil palm or rubber plantations.

As time goes by, “favourite” haunts among drug addicts are no longer contained to these locations and according to investigative reports, drug addicts these days are more inclined to use their own homes, public toilets or even their own vehicles to feed their illegal activity.

According to Zirwatul, as life becomes increasingly more difficult to endure, more individuals have resorted to taking drugs as a means of “relieving” their stress.

“Five years ago, traditional drugs such as heroin and morphine might have been the drugs of choice but now the use of synthetic drugs such as syabu has dominated the market,” she added.

Zirwatul went on to note that youths, including general workers and the unemployed, had the highest level of involvement with the illegal substance in Pahang.

Concerning the involvement of women in drugs, she stated that it was still minimal, accounting for only 3.6% of the 2,386 addicts as of April, and that the cause of addiction was due to the influence of peers and spouse, as well as issues within the family.

“As for the students, so far there have been no arrests and no legal action taken, but we are doing our best to come up with relevant drug prevention campaigns to deter them from getting involved with drugs,” she acknowledged.

“We are also working closely with our strategic partner, the Education Ministry, to carry out drug prevention efforts.

“In addition, I hope that counsellors and teachers in schools can become more sensitive to the changes in students so that they do not get involved with drugs to relieve their stress and problems,” Zirwatul said. – June 30, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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