Are more and more Sarawakian youths resorting to drugs?

By Hesper Anak Buckland
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In a previous article, we highlighted Sarawak’s ever-growing cases of Methamphetamine type drugs being in constant circulation in the community along with a few mentions of the drugs side effects upon the abuse of the aforementioned substance. 

Since then, drug busts are predicted to increase within the next few months but gangs and individuals involved in the drug circulation have made their efforts more discrete to avoid any suspicion. Not to our surprise, some individuals have paused some of their illicit activities due to the nature of authorities being at high alert for anyone involved. 

However, what should be evidently surprising for anyone is the involvement of the youth with these so-called drug cartels or syndicates. In July, Sarawak Community Wellbeing Assistant Minister, Datuk Francis Harden Hollis revealed the existence of a syndicate in the state which distributes drugs for free to school students in order to get them hooked.

In a MalayMail article, he said, “They (school students) would first be given the drug for free and when they have started enjoying it, they would want to buy it and if there is no supply, they would look for the dealers.”

Similarly in the next month, our Western peninsular brothers managed to coup 20 youths on the account of violating the movement control order (MCO) and the possession of 0.6g of methamphetamine along with 0.56g of cannabis.

PHOTO: THIERRY FALISE/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

Why are today’s youth taking drugs?

Just like adults, the youth today endure much stress just like their older counterparts and some are even in dire situations due to pandemic. It comes into contention whereby some use them for relief and the others use it as income. The pandemic has horrified the sustainability of some of the youths whereby some who were already in the line of poverty are limited to the sources of their basic needs.

As we know, being in the drug circulation means high risk, high reward. Knowing that drugs have a high value, individuals, if necessary, are willing to be drug mules for these syndicates to earn a living, which will see them take a margin of the profit. Some would also use it to take out their misery, which usually results in death due to overdosing.

For the other half, drugs are used as a form of pleasure when inhaled, injected and orally consumed. Some are well off and some even richer than the rest yet all that money can’t buy happiness so what is the next best thing? Drugs and booze of course. 

The feeling of euphoria, manifestations of hallucinations and stimulation for enhanced sexual intercourse are one of many desires by youths’ today. However, there are signs whereby depression and mental illnesses have led to both sides of the spectrum to misuse these drugs.

Real life experiences

Below are the confessions of youths who either have had experiences with drugs or family members who were under the influence of such drugs. All respondents were given aliases to protect their identities and in respect of their security within the community.

Lee:

“I don’t condone the use of drugs but I fell victim to peer pressure so I was forced to drink lean and smoke ‘kush’. I was at a party and I wanted to be the ‘yes-man’ so I did. I don’t think I suffered any serious repercussions but I remember waking up with a headache and my heart was beating unusually fast.”

Raina:

“I never took it but my brother did. He took it everyday after school, as our parents would normally let us go back on the school vans so he had time. I once caught him going into an apartment nearby our school with a very dubious amount of cash in his wallet. Later that day when he was not in his room, I checked and found a packet of  ‘syabu’.”

Talib:

“I’m a former addict. I started taking pills when I was 12. I have really abusive parents and I didn’t know where to go for attention so I started hanging out with some ‘rempits’. Most of the time my parents didn’t care where I was but truthfully, I took a lot of pills with alcohol. I got caught multiple times and have since gone to rehab. I don’t really get a lot of job opportunities now so I work at a cyber café.”

*Disclaimer: All the above responses were taken via Reddit and the respondents agreed to have their story published as long as their identities remained anonymous. The Reddit post has since been taken down to avoid harassment towards the respondents.

-TheStar, MalayMail-

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