NEW PLAN TO HELP STUDENT ADDICTS
Local community leaders to be roped in at high-risk school areas, says minister
ADIE SURI ZULKEFLI PADANG TERAP firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.