NEW PLAN TO HELP STU­DENT AD­DICTS

Lo­cal com­mu­nity lead­ers to be roped in at high-risk school ar­eas, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - News -

ADIE SURI ZULKEFLI PADANG TERAP adie.zulkefli@nst.com.my

TO check the alarm­ing num­ber of stu­dents in­volved in drug ad­dic­tion, the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry is ex­pand­ing the Na­tional Blue Ocean Strat­egy (NBOS) to the district level.

Its min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the NBOS strat­egy would en­sure the war against drug abuse among stu­dents would be a com­pre­hen­sive ac­tion in­volv­ing all the stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Mahdzir said the min­istry was col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Na­tional Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada) to ex­pand NBOS to the district level by en­gag­ing all rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment agen­cies, both at the fed­eral and state lev­els, to work with com­mu­nity lead­ers in ar­eas where “high-risk” schools were lo­cated.

He said it was high time the NBOS strat­egy was im­ple­mented in the war against drug abuse among school chil­dren, as the num­ber of stu­dent ad­dicts had reached an alarm­ing level.

“We adopted the NBOS ap­proach at the fed­eral level. To have a com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy, we need to form NBOS com­mit­tees at district level as well, so that there could be bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion in tack­ling drug abuse among stu­dents in high-risk schools.

“We must rope in all stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment agen­cies, par­ents, lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, vil­lage chiefs, imams, re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions and so on, to join the war against drug ad­dic­tion,” he said af­ter launch­ing the na­tional-level a drug abuse pre­ven­tion pro­gramme, Shields, for se­condary school stu­dents, at Kolej Mara Kuala Nerang here yes­ter­day.

Present were Nada di­rec­tor­gen­eral Datuk Dr Abd Halim Mohd Hussin, Kedah Hous­ing and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Badrol Hisham Hashim and Bukit Kayu Hi­tam as­sem­bly­man Datuk Ah­mad Zaini Jaa­par.

About 500 high-risk stu­dents from se­lected schools na­tion­wide were in­volved in the four-day pro­gramme, which aims to nur­ture aware­ness on the dan­gers of drug abuse.

Mahdzir, who is also Padang Terap mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, said par­ents and the pub­lic should be proac­tive in ad­dress­ing the so­cial is­sue in­stead of shift­ing the bur­den to the au­thor­i­ties.

“For ex­am­ple, if Nada or the po­lice iden­tify a par­tic­u­lar school that has drug ad­dic­tion risk among its stu­dents, we will form an NBOS com­mit­tee, in­volv­ing stake­hold­ers from gov­ern­ment agen­cies down to lo­cal com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives, to han­dle the is­sue.

“The ap­proach will be holis­tic and com­pre­hen­sive, so that we can ef­fec­tively weed out drug ad­dic­tion among stu­dents,” he said.

Mahdzir said stu­dents’ ad­dic­tion to drugs was the source of many so­cial ills, crime and de­struc­tion of fam­ily in­sti­tu­tions.

He said the threat was even greater now due to eas­ier ac­cess to drugs, where push­ers could de­liver the sup­ply right at the ad­dicts’ doorstep.

Mahdzir said the Shield pro­gramme had been car­ried out since 2011, tar­get­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of 40 se­condary school stu­dents from each district.

He said 192 pro­grammes would be or­gan­ised through­out this year.

“We have also been work­ing with Nada to or­gan­ise the Pin­tar pro­gramme for at risk pupils at pri­mary schools na­tion­wide since last year in­volv­ing 3,760 pupils.

“Other than that, Nada is car­ry­ing out ran­dom urine tests at schools na­tion­wide. Records showed that out of 39,462 stu­dents screened by Nada last year, 1,577 of them were tested pos­i­tive, while an­other 155 cases tested pos­i­tive in urine tests by the po­lice,” he said.

Dr Abd Halim lauded the move to rope in the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ties to tackle drug abuse among stu­dents.

He said they played a piv­otal role in help­ing the gov­ern­ment weed out drug ad­dic­tion among stu­dents due to their rap­port with the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

On Shield and Pin­tar, he said stu­dents who par­tic­i­pated in the pro­grammes would be mon­i­tored even af­ter they fin­ished or stopped school­ing to gauge their ef­fec­tive­ness.

PIC BY AMRAN HAMID

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (cen­tre) at the launch of Shields at Kolej Mara Kuala Nerang yes­ter­day. With him is Datuk Dr Abd Halim Mohd Hussin (sec­ond from left) and Mara stu­dents.

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