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Local drug situation continues to improve

     Members of the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) were briefed on various drug figures in the first quarter of 2012 at its quarterly meeting today (June 27) and they were pleased to note the continued improvement in the local drug situation.

     According to the latest figures of the Central Registry of Drug Abuse, the number of reported drug abusers dropped by 6.8% (from 4,258 to 3,970) compared to the same period last year.

     There was a 24.2% drop in the number of reported young drug abusers under 21 compared to the same period last year (from 740 to 561). The number of newly reported drug abusers also decreased by 12.0% (from 867 to 763). The number of newly reported young drug abusers under 21 showed a decrease of 6.3% compared to the same period last year (from 316 to 296).

     The number of reported female drug abusers was 11.3% lower (from 734 to 651), while the number of reported male drug abusers dropped by 5.8% (from 3,524 to 3,319) when compared to the same period in 2011.

     The ACAN Chairman, Professor Daniel Shek, said, "We are pleased to see the continuous improvement in the local drug situation but we will not be complacent. In view of the growing trend of hidden drug abuse, ACAN will continue to work closely with the Government and different sectors of the community to tackle the drug problem."

     The Commissioner for Narcotics, Mrs Erika Hui, added, "The Administration will continue to implement its anti-drug work along the five strategic directions, namely, community mobilisation, community support, drug testing, treatment and law enforcement. In respect of preventive education and publicity, we have launched a new series of TV and Radio Announcements in the Public Interest (APIs) to alert hidden drug abusers to seek help early and encourage members of the public, in particular parents and neighbours, to play an active role in drug prevention, early intervention and assistance.

     "The Government has in parallel enhanced the anti-drug telephone service 186 186, through which youths, parents and members of the public can acquire anti-drug information or seek professional help."

     Members also reviewed other drug-related figures in the first quarter of 2012 at the meeting.

     The number of reported abusers taking narcotics analgesics (2,303) was higher than the number of reported psychotropic substance abusers (PSAs) (2,043).

     Heroin remained the most popular drug among reported abusers, but the number of reported heroin abusers was 1.7% lower than that in the same period of 2011 (from 2,339 to 2,300).

     Among psychotropic substances, ketamine was the most commonly abused. The number of reported ketamine abusers was 21.0% lower (from 1,287 to 1,017). Among these abusers, 32.7% were aged under 21.

     The number of reported abusers of most groups of PSAs also declined: ecstasy (26.5% lower), nimetazepam (18.4% lower), cannabis (10.1% lower), cough medicine (5.4% lower) and triazolam/midazolam/zopiclone (0.8% lower).

     However, the number of reported abusers of cocaine and methamphetamine rose by 47.5% and 1.3% respectively.

     With the summer holidays approaching, Mrs Hui reminded young people to ensure a drug-free holiday by staying vigilant and staying away from drugs. The Government will enhance its anti-drug publicity efforts during the summer holidays. Law enforcement agencies will also step up enforcement to combat drug-related crimes and continue to tackle drug problem at source.

Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:58


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