KUALA LUMPUR: A drug addicted offender is arrested every four minutes resulting in the destruction of many lives and the loss of nearly RM150 million in economic potential.
A total of 129,604 people were detained for various drug offenses in 2021, or about 355 per day, or one every four minutes.
“If we take, say, RM100 from 97% of them, as the economic contributions of these individuals per month, that would mean the nation has lost RM150.5 million,” the Deputy Inspector General said. police officer Tan Sri Razarudin Husain in an interview with The Star.
The cost of rehabilitation could be even higher, reaching more than half a billion ringgit every year.
“Such amounts could have benefited various sectors, especially the health and education sectors,” he said.
Of the 129,604 people detained in 2021, 52,632 (40%) were arrested for positive urine tests, 51,637 (40%) for possession of drugs and 25,277 (20%) for selling drugs.
The biggest fear is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“In 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that for every drug addict detained, there were seven others at large.
“Based on this calculation, the number of drug users in Malaysia could reach 861,973, or a ratio of one drug user per eight families,” he said.
If the threat is not checked, the ratio could easily become two drug addicts for every eight families within a decade.
Drug rehabilitation is also expensive, Razarudin said.
“The cost for each drug addict at the rehab center is RM45 per day.
“In 2019, the National Drug Control Agency reported that there were 128,325 drug users in the country. If 25% of them, or 32,401, are in rehabilitation, it will cost 1.46 million RM per day and RM532 million per year,” he said.