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Addicts now seen as people to be treated, not punished
Published on: Tuesday, June 25, 2019
By: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Drug addicts in this country are no longer seen as criminals who must be punished but are patients in need of treatment and rehabilitation.

This follows a discussion between the Home Ministry (KDN) and the Health Ministry at the KDN office here which agreed to implement a decriminalisation of drug addicts.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the decriminalisation would include a treatment programme which would boost the roles of family members and the community.

“The KDN will cooperate with the Health Ministry in a ‘harm-reduction’ programme through therapy and joint management of dual diagnosis cases by the Narcotics Addiction Rehabilitation Centre (Puspen) in Tampoi and Permai Hospital in Johor,” he said.

At present, Muhyiddin said, there were 70,000 prisoners in Malaysia, most of whom were drug addicts.

“With the process of decriminalisation, prisoners who are categorised as drug addicts will be given treatment and rehabilitation,” he said.

He added that the Home Ministry was also looking at taking out Sections  6, 8 and 9 of the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act from being registered under Act 7 (Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969) to give a second chance to addicts who have been cured and released from the rehabilitation centres of the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK).

Muhyiddin added that the Home Ministry and the Health Ministry also discussed other issues such as communicable diseases in prisons, lock-ups and detention centres.

He said according to the latest data from the Prisons Department, 16,955 detainees have been found to contracted communicable diseases.

“The KDN and the Health Ministry will work together to manage communicable diseases in detention centres,” he said. – Bernama



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