Press Statement: Rising Trend In Drug Related Arrests, Drs Urge Government To Amend Laws



Kuala Lumpur, 27.11.2019


We refer to the speech by YB Dr. Lee Bon Chye, Deputy Minister of Health Malaysia in Bangi at the opening of the Asia Pacific Society for Alcohol and Addiction Research Conference incorporating the 10th National Conference on Addiction Medicine.

The Federation of Private Medical Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM) and the Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia (AMAM) would like to congratulate and support this important development in the on-going battle against drug addiction.

The medical fraternity have long appealed for a compassionate approach to the management of those afflicted by drug addiction and advocated for the important role of medication assisted therapy (MAT) together with psychosocial intervention at all levels of the community. The scientific evidence of addiction as a chronic brain disorder is irrefutable.

Since 2002, the FPMPAM and the AMAM (founded in 2006) have developed a community-based MAT program. More than 900 GPs have been trained in the use of MAT and they are able to offer treatment for these patients within the community setting. To date, our nation-wide community-based MAT program have taken more than more than 24,000 patients with heroin addiction off the streets. Retention treatment rates have been more than 60% when the data was last analysed in 2014. Within 2 years following the introduction of MAT in Malaysia, important parameters like HIV-associated IV drug use death rate and drug-related arrests have been shown to fall significantly. This experience have been similar in countries that have advocated this policy.

However from 2016, statistics from the NADA have shown a worrisome reversal of the trend with an increasing number of drug related arrests. This is an indication that affirmative regulatory reform is needed for maintaining and upscaling MAT.

Amendments to relevant provisions in the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 will enable those in addiction to legally and confidently seek medical treatment are urgently needed.

We urge that political will be focussed to ensure that this policy decision be translated into administrative action to prevent condemning another generation of young Malaysians into a lifetime of addiction. On our part as medical practitioners, we offer our services and resources to the government to achieve this goal.

The 10th National Conference on Addiction Medicine is incorporated into the APSAAR 2019 with AMAM as a co-organiser. AMAM will specifically address issues related to drug addiction and its treatment in Malaysia at this meeting


Dr. Steven KW Chow
President, Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia (AMAM)
President, Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations Malaysia.

About The Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia (AMAM)
AMAM, a sister society of the FPMPAM was formed in 2006 and is the first addiction medicine association to be founded in Asia. Its primary objective is to develop and promote the science of addiction medicine nationally and in the region. Members of AMAM consists of GPs, specialists in addiction medicine and allied healthcare professionals with the interest or working in managing of patients with addiction. AMAM organises the National Conference on Addiction Medicine (NatCAM) together with International Conference of Addiction Medicine (ICAM) once every two years.

About the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM)
Founded in1989, it has more than 5,000 members in seven state-level associations in the country. While it is primarily committed to improving the quality of private healthcare through continuing medical education, continuing professional development of its members and ethics advocacy, it has in recent years been focusing on frontier medicine, addiction medicine and a mentoring programme for trainee doctors.

For further information please contact: Dr. Steven Chow,
Tel: 019 3376703