Sabah is No 3 in the league of heavy drinkers
Published on: Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: Although Aramaiti may be most readily identified with Sabah, the State ranks third after Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak, in terms of alcohol consumption.Nevertheless, State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad (pic) said there is an urgent need to put a lid on the problem.

"A researcher from Universiti Malaysia Sabah stated that 17 per cent of the population in Sabah were heavy alcohol drinkers," said Jainab, adding, "about 50 per cent of them do so in a hazardous way."

"We need to address this issue before it gets any worse because it can contribute to problems like rape, incest, fights and so on."

She said when people get drunk, sometimes they just cannot control themselves from committing offences.

"There was a case in the State where a person raped his grandmother after drinking alcohol … this is an example of what could happen when a person becomes an alcoholic, many worse things may happen," she said.

She was speaking at the opening of the Fourth International Asia Pacific Behavioural and Addiction Medicine (Apbam) Conference at the Medicine and Health Science Faculty in Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Saturday.

Jainab said the Government is committed to actively raising the quality of treating people addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.

"We want people regardless of race, creed or circumstance to make a full recovery and become meaningful members of society and our task is to make it possible and this conference takes us one step further towards that cause.

"While we continue to take action from a welfare standpoint, we also need support from professionals, clinicians and the people as a whole to combat the menace of addiction," said Jainab.

Apbam Organising Chairman, Prof. Munidasa Winslow, said the event was an inaugural conference on addiction in Malaysia.

He said they chose Sabah as the venue for the first time in response to the need to strengthen the capabilities of professionals in the region who work with persons with alcohol and other addictions.

"The three-day conference which is jointly organised by the Asia Pacific Certification Board, Mercy Malaysia, Promises Healthcare and Solace Sabah, aims to provide professionals and interested individuals with knowledge and practical skills in addiction work.

"About 150 participants from 12 countries like Australia, New Zealand, America, and Singapore, are taking part in this conference which started on Friday," he said.

On the issue of treating person with alcohol or drug addiction, Winslow said it was like treating any other medical problem like high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma as they need medicine and also psycho-social treatment.

"In fact in Sabah, one of the first Malaysian rehabilitation centres for alcohol, drugs, gambling and other social problems, opened here.

"The private rehabilitation centre is for people with addiction not only to get medical treatment but also when they have been addicted for a long time, they will change their thinking and behaviour.

"Not only the person with the addiction will be treated but the whole family also gets involved in the treatment as they should know how to help their family member get better," he said.

There are several factors to addiction such as genetics, culture and environment of the person, he added.


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