Dr. Farhana Sabri
Dr. Farhana SabriAsian Centre for Research on Drug Abuse (ACREDA)

Law enforcement action committee meeting was held in 21st July 2020 chaired by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin. The committee plan to replace the Drug Dependents (Treatment & Rehabilitation) Act 1983 (Act 283) with the Drugs and Substance Abuse Act 2020.

The current Act 1983 provides an opportunity for users who got arrested for drug-related to integrate a two-year mandatory treatment program at a Cure and Care Rehabilitation Centre (CCRC) or be given a two-year supervision order in the community. The center is managed by Agensi Anti-Dadah Kebangsaan (AADK) that comes under the supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Beside the mandatory rehabilitation center, since 2010, AADK establishes a new priority that allows drug users and their families to come to treatment centre, called Cure and Care Clinic (C&C) voluntarily without having to go through legal procedures and free of legal implications.

This voluntary treatment services are accessible to all drug users without having to wait to be arrested and admitted. As seen here, the Ministry of Home Affairs through AADK has been striving to provide a comprehensive range of treatment and rehabilitation and support services to meet the needs of social care of drug users.

It is hoped that the new Drugs and Substance Abuse Act 2020 will not only increase access of drug treatment and rehabilitation for drug users, but also their family who got affected by the disease. Drug treatment and rehabilitation should not only be focusing on treating drug users to recover, but it should extend to their significant others who have been traumatic in coping with substance abuse problems. Therefore, the new Act will not be relied on harsh punitive measures, but appropriate help is also provided.

The new Act will change the narration of drug users in Malaysia and this is in line with the government’s intention to view them as patients and not merely as criminals.