Time to deal with al­co­hol ad­dic­tion in Sabah – Jainab

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - FRONT PAGE - By Shalina R.

KOTA KIN­A­BALU: Aware­ness on al­co­hol abuse needs to be height­ened to help curb so­cial ill­nesses in Sabah.

Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment and Con­sumer Af­fairs Min­is­ter Datuk Jainab Ah­mad Ayid stressed that Sabah’s fond­ness for al­co­hol cul­ture puts its peo­ple on high and con­stant risk to al­co­hol ad­dic­tion, which is the root to many so­cial prob­lems in the state.

“In Sabah, we have a month­long cel­e­bra­tion of ‘ara­maiti’. I feel the time has come to maybe go back and study this. We can ara­maiti but there is no need to get ex­ces­sively drunk. I think we need to sit down to­gether and do a Na­tional Blue Ocean Strat­egy,” she said, adding that the govern­ment had taken grad­ual steps to send the mes­sage to peo­ple such as tak­ing down ban­ners with pic­tures of beers and such.

“We shouldn’t com­part­men­tal­ize our­selves, put it that way. I feel we need to work with Tan Dri Joseph Pairin’s KDCA (Kadazan­dusun Cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion),” Jainab added when of­fi­ci­at­ing at the 4th Asia Pa­cific Be­havioural and Ad­dic­tion Medicine (APBAM) Con­fer­ence at Univer­siti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Medicine and Health Sci­ences Fac­ulty here yes­ter­day.

The min­is­ter said Sabah recorded the third high­est con­sump­tion of al­co­hol in Malaysia at 18.4 per­cent af­ter Kuala Lumpur (20.3 per­cent) and Sarawak (19.7 per­cent). This is a con­fir­ma­tion that we must col­lab­o­rate,” said Jainab.

“A re­searcher from UMS it­self has stated that 17% of the pop­u­la­tion of Sabah are heavy al­co­hol drinkers, and about 50% of them drink in a hazardous way.

“While we con­tinue to take ac­tion from a wel­fare stand­point, we also need sup­port from pro­fes­sion­als, clin­i­cians and the peo­ple of Sabah and Malaysia as a whole to com­bat the me­nace of ad­dic­tion. With greater progress comes more prob­lems if we do not co­op­er­ate. If we know our prob­lems, we have to treat the prob­lems to­gether, not only the govern­ment,” she added.

Sin­ga­pore Prom­ises ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and se­nior con­sul­tant pay­chi­a­trist cum APBAM Con­fer­ence 2016 chair­per­son Prof Mu­nidasa Winslow stressed that treat­ing any ad­dic­tion, in­clud­ing drug or al­co­hol prob­lem, is the same as any other med­i­cal con­di­tions like high blood pres­sure, di­a­betes, or asthma.

How­ever, he added that no form of treat­ment would be ef­fec­tive if a per­son con­tin­ues with un­healthy habits.

There­fore, the com­bi­na­tion of drugs and biopsy­choso­cial model must be used to en­com­pass treat­ment in terms of bi­ol­ogy, psy­chol­ogy, so­cial, and spir­i­t­u­ral, chimed in So­lace Sabah co­founder and CEO Dr Prem Kumar Shan­mugam.

“When they have been ad­dicted for a long time, to be able to change their think­ing or change the be­hav­ior so that they can get well, they have got to do a lot of fam­ily ther­apy,” said Dr Prem.

“The whole fam­ily must also get in­volved, not only the per­son with al­co­hol and drugs is­sues. The whole fam­ily must also learn how to talk. Don’t just point the finger but also learn to help the peo­ple get bet­ter as ad­dic­tion is not only re­lated to the per­son alone. When we treat the sick per­son, we also need to treat the fam­ily be­cause the fam­ily be­comes ill along with the sick. Their roles and per­cep­tion will also change with their way of think­ing.

“Some peo­ple are pre­dis­posed and they have a higher chance of be­com­ing ad­dicted. But it does not mean every­body will be­come ad­dicted. We can all drink al­co­hol but maybe one or two of us can­not stop, that’s the prob­lem. There is 40% to 60% ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion to al­co­hol. There are many rea­sons ba­si­cally, but not all peo­ple will be­come an ad­dict,” he clar­i­fied.

Na­tional Anti-drug Agency (AADK) Sabah di­rec­tor Bakri Bibi was also amongst the dis­tin­guished guests and over 120 in­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants at the open­ing cer­e­mony.

Jainab (front, sixth right) with Winslow (front, cen­tre) and Prem (front, sec­ond right) with dis­tin­guished guests and the in­ter­na­tional APBAM Con­fer­ence 2016 team at 4th Asia Pa­cific Be­havioural and Ad­dic­tion Medicine Con­fer­ence in UMS Med­i­cal and...

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