Wage war against glue sniffing among minors — Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar
DECEMBER 20 — The case of a disciplinary teacher Azizan Mana who was accused of slapping a student for sniffing glue, and later on was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, is one of the telltale signs that the problem of drug addiction among school children is escalating at an alarming rate.
According to the recent statistics on drug abuse in Malaysia, it is estimated that the number of addicts will reach three million by the year 2020.
Equally disturbing, is the fact that younger and younger minors are involved. Children as young as below 13 years of age were making headlines in drug abused cases reported in media in 2015 onwards.
In August this year, we were shocked to learn the news of two youths who fell from an eight-storey building, after sniffing glue on the roof of Kompleks Api Api, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. One of them died due to serious head injuries.
The Society for Education of underprivileged Children in Sabah (PKPKM Sabah) reported children as young as three to four years old sniffing glue which is widely available in shops.
Inhalant abuse such as glue sniffing is not a criminal offence in Malaysia. Easy access and affordability where the glue can be obtained for as cheap as not more than RM3 has contributed to the high number of youngsters engaging in glue sniffing.
This is compounded by the facts that parents may not be aware of the health implications and long-term effects glue sniffing has, especially if children are exposed to it at such a very young age.
The long term effects of glue sniffing include memory loss, addiction and brain degeneration. Children addicted to glue sniffing also display violent behavior and age prone to bullying behaviour.
Glue sniffing is part of inhalants and unfortunately, they are not included under the Dangerous Drugs Act. The lack of legislation had left the authorities unable make arrests. Likewise, there have also been few prevention campaigns against glue sniffing.
A study by the Faculty of Education, University Teknologi MARA revealed more than 30 per cent students felt that their parents did not view glue sniffing, consuming alcohol or smoking as an offense. This is something which is very worrying.
Studies have shown that glue sniffing, regarded as a child’s play, is a gateway drug before they move on to the “real” thing.
I-Medik or Ikatan Pengamal Perubatan Muslim Malaysia seriously urge the government to emulate Singapore and Thailand to ban glue sniffing. Intoxicating Substance Act should be in place to prohibit the misuse of certain substances which may cause intoxication when inhaled.
As for parents, close monitoring of our children is utmost importance. Do check out what is in their possessions and with whom, they’re mingling with. Give our full cooperations to schools and teachers, working hand in hand to curb drug abuse among children.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.