Total number of reported drug abusers in decline but vigilance still required (with photos)
According to the latest figures of the Central Registry of Drug Abuse (CRDA), the total number of reported drug abusers in the first three quarters of 2016 decreased by 6 per cent (from 7,286 to 6,874) compared with the same period in 2015. That of reported young drug abusers aged under 21 registered a more notable decrease by 30 per cent (from 584 to 411).
The number of newly reported drug abusers decreased by 8 per cent (from 1,675 to 1,542). However, over half (56 per cent) were young adults aged between 21 and 35, suggesting that drug abuse in this age group is still a cause of concern.
The latest CRDA figures also revealed that the median drug abusing history of newly reported abusers (i.e. the time for abusers to be discovered by the CRDA reporting agencies from their first drug abuse) was 4.5 years, compared with 5.8 years in 2015.
In the first three quarters of 2016, the number of psychotropic substance abusers (PSAs) and that of narcotic analgesic abusers decreased by 4 per cent (from 4,484 to 4,325) and 8 per cent (from 3,723 to 3,439) respectively. Among the newly reported abusers, the number of PSAs (1,350) was noticeably higher than that of narcotic analgesic abusers (194). The prevalence of psychotropic substance abuse continued.
Heroin remained the most common type of drug abused among all reported drug abusers. However, the number of reported heroin abusers decreased by 8 per cent (from 3,720 to 3,437).
"Ice" continued to be the most common type of psychotropic substance abused, with the number of reported abusers having increased by 13 per cent (from 1,774 to 2,010). Meanwhile, the number of reported ketamine abusers decreased by 36 per cent (from 1,720 to 1,103).
The total numbers of reported abusers of other major types of psychotropic substances registering an increase included: triazolam/midazolam/zopiclone (from 786 to 802), cocaine (from 503 to 608), cannabis (from 293 to 358), cough medicine (from 292 to 338) and MDMA ("ecstasy") (from 42 to 45). A decline was recorded for nimetazepam (from 28 to 21).
The ACAN Chairman, Dr Ben Cheung, said, "Although the overall number of reported drug abusers continues to decline, vigilance against drugs, especially 'ice' abuse, should not slacken. 'Ice' is addictive and can cause serious drug-induced psychiatric symptoms and illness such as psychosis, anxiety, depression, hallucinations and feelings of persecution, which may result in violent or self-destructive behaviour. We will continue to enhance public awareness of drug harms, and promote healthy lifestyles to encourage youngsters to stay away from drugs."
As a reminder of the need to resist drug temptations during the Christmas and New Year holidays, Dr Cheung, the Chairman of the ACAN Sub-committee on Preventive Education and Publicity, Dr Tik Chi-yuen, the Chairman of the ACAN Sub-committee on Treatment and Rehabilitation, Dr Susan Fan, and the Commissioner for Narcotics, Ms Manda Chan, joined by ACAN members, the Chairman of the Central and Western District Fight Crime Committee, Mr Thomas Cheung and the Police Assistant District Commander (Operations 1) of Central District, Mr Tyrol Yau, distributed anti-drug leaflets and publicity materials to patrons at bars and restaurants and passers-by at Lan Kwai Fong in Central after the meeting today.
Ms Chan said, "With the coming festive season, members of the public, especially youngsters, are reminded to maintain a clear mind in the joyous atmosphere and say no to drugs. I would also like to appeal to parents, teachers and front-line workers to be more alert and encourage persons with drug-induced symptoms to seek help early."
Ms Chan added, "The Government will continue to adopt the five-pronged strategy in the fight against drugs. With Christmas and the New Year around the corner, a new round of anti-drug publicity will be launched in the coming weeks. We will also continue to promote the anti-drug helpline 186 186 and instant messaging service 98 186 186."
Other participants of the anti-drug publicity event in Central today included ACAN members Mr Kwok Wing-keung, Ms Sandy Wong and Mr Ivan Yiu; the Vice Chairman of the Central and Western District Fight Crime Committee, Mr Yeung Man-lee; and the Chief Superintendent (Narcotics Bureau) of the Hong Kong Police Force, Mr Ma Ping-yiu.
Ends/Thursday, December 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:41
Issued at HKT 21:41