Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Local drug situation continues to improve in 2012 (with photo)

      The Commissioner for Narcotics, Mrs Erika Hui, announced today (March 21) the 2012 figures of the Central Registry of Drug Abuse (CRDA) and the results of the "2011/12 Survey of Drug Use among Students". Both findings indicate continued improvements in the local drug situation, in particular a significant drop in the number of young drug abusers.

      Speaking at the press conference, Mrs Hui said, "According to the latest figures of the CRDA, there was a decline in both the total number of reported drug abusers and young drug abusers. In 2012, the total number of reported drug abusers dropped by 5 per cent (from 11,554 to 10,939) while the number of newly reported drug abusers decreased by 13 per cent (from 3,257 to 2,849) when compared to 2011.

      "Among them, the drop in the number of young drug abusers is even more obvious. In 2012, the number of reported young drug abusers aged under 21 and the number of newly reported young drug abusers aged under 21 dropped by 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively when compared to 2011. During the period of 2008 to 2012, the number of reported young drug abusers aged under 21 decreased by 54 per cent, which is higher than the decreasing rate of the total number of reported drug abusers (23 per cent)."

      Mrs Hui noted that the latest CRDA figures had re-affirmed the increasing hidden nature of youth drug abuse. She said, "In recent years, the median time of abusing drugs by newly reported abusers (i.e. the time for abusers to be discovered by the CRDA reporting agencies from his first drug abuse) increased persistently, with a more than double increase from 1.9 years in 2008 to 4.0 years in 2012."

      Mrs Hui also announced the results of the "2011/12 Survey of Drug Use among Students" at the press conference. The Survey, conducted by a research organisation, is commissioned by the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau every three years. It aims to obtain the latest drug-taking trends of local students and provide useful indicators on students' knowledge of drugs and attitudes towards drug-taking. The information will assist the Government in formulating anti-drug policies and initiatives that will better meet actual situation. The Survey successfully interviewed about 156,000 students, covering some 30 post-secondary institutions and over 200 primary and secondary schools, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the student population in Hong Kong.

      She pointed out that the Survey results also show a downward trend in the local drug situation, which is in line with that shown in the CRDA.

      She said, "The Survey reveals that the number of students who claimed to have taken drugs dropped significantly from 30,200 in the 2008/09 Survey to 17,500 and the proportion of drug-taking students to the student population dropped from 3.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent.

     "There are also signs of easing in the problem of 'lowering age of drug abusers'. Among those drug-taking students at secondary or above levels, the proportion of drug-taking students whose first age was 10 or below dropped from 14 per cent to 11 per cent."

     The Survey also found that drug-taking students had predominantly taken psychotropic substances and there was a drop in the number of drug abusers across all psychotropic types. The two most common types of drugs taken by drug-taking upper primary students were cough medicine and thinner, while the most common type of drugs among secondary and post-secondary students were cannabis and ketamine.

     Mrs Hui noted the results of the Survey had affirmed the increasingly hidden nature of youth drug abuse revealed by the CRDA in recent years. She said, "Among the students interviewed, 'friends'/schoolmates'/neighbours' homes' (33 per cent) and students' own 'homes' (26 per cent) were the most common venues for drug taking, which is similar to that in 2008/09 Survey. The proportion of drug-taking students who took drugs 'alone' increased from 15 per cent in the 2008/09 Survey to 21 per cent in 2011/12 Survey. Nearly 80 per cent of drug-taking students reported that they had never sought help from others."

     Speaking at the press conference, the Chairman of the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN), Professor Daniel Shek, said, "We are pleased to note the continued decline in the total number of drug abusers as revealed in both sets of statistical findings, in particular a remarkable drop in the number of young drug abusers. We believe that this is a result of the continuous efforts by the Government and different sectors of the community in the work of fighting drugs.

     "However, there is no room for complacency. Facing the growing problem of hidden drug abuse, early identification and early intervention become an important challenge. In such circumstances, parents play an important role since they are best placed to observe unusual behaviour of their children and encourage them to seek help early. We will continue to raise public awareness (in particular parents) of the youth drug problem to facilitate early identification of high risk youths and intervention," he said.

      Mrs Hui said it was encouraging to see the improvement in the local drug situation. However, she stressed that the Administration would not slacken its anti-drug efforts. The Government would continue to tackle the drug problem in a holistic manner along the five-pronged strategy, namely, preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, legislation and law enforcement, external co-operation and research. Relevant measures will also be taken to address different drug problems.

      She pointed out that the drop in the total number of reported drug abusers in 2012, in particular the number of young drug abusers, had proved that the Government's escalated efforts in anti-drug preventive education and publicity to address the youth drug problem in the past few years, including the implementation of the Healthy School Programme with a drug testing component, had yielded positive results and effectively controlled the spread of drug abuse on campus.

     Noting the increasingly hidden nature of youth drug abuse, Mrs Hui said, "The Government has enhanced its work in preventive education and publicity as a preventive measure. The Survey results have re-affirmed the hidden drug problem. The Government will step up the education and publicity work targeting parents to encourage them to play an active role in drug prevention, early identification and intervention. We will also enhance publicity of the 24-hour anti-drug telephone service 186 186, which is manned by professional social workers, to provide counselling service for people in need as well as referral to relevant organisations for follow up."

     Mrs Hui concluded, "Drug abuse can cause serious or even irreversible effects on the health of the drug abusers. We hope to encourage people troubled by drugs to seek early help through different means."

     The full Survey report and 2012 CRDA figures are accessible on the Narcotics Division's website (

Ends/Thursday, March 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:50


Print this page