Malaysia Could Have a Million Drug Addicts

Malaysia Could Have a Million Drug Addicts
June 15, 2023 Editorial Reszon


Drugs can be classified into synthetic drugs (heroin, cocaine, ecstacy, fentanyl) and natural drugs (kratom/ketum, marijuana, opium). Synthetic drugs are manufactured in the lab while some are used for medical conditions. [4]

The World Drug Report 2022 estimated around 11.2 million drug addicts worldwide in 2020 (World Drug Report 2022 – Booklet 2: Drug Demand Drug Supply). [4]

Drug Trafficking in Southeast Asia [4]

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its report “Synthetic Drug in East and Southeast Asia: Latest development and challenges 2022” stated that the drug industry has been expanding continuously in the Southeast Asia region, where in 2021, both production and trafficking broke the previous record, with one billion methamphetamine tablets seized.

Drug syndicates are also evolving, especially in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia serving as a key distribution hub – being located south of the infamous “Golden Triangle” where the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand converge. This makes Malaysia an eminent transit point.

Drug Abusers & Addicts in Malaysia

According to National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada), it is estimated that there could be almost a million drug addicts in Malaysia up to 2022, with 86 percent of them yet to be identified by the authorities. [1]

There were 137,176 drug addicts (0.4 per cent of the population) seeking treatment from Nada (which was under the Home Ministry), the Health Ministry and private rehabilitation centres,” said Nada’s director-general Sutekno Ahmad Belon. He added that based on the World Drug Report by UNODC in 2022, for every eight addicts, only one was seeking treatment. Based on that formula, in 2022, on top of the total 137,176 addicts, it is believed to have extra seven addicts per addict. [1]



News Straits Times reported that an average of five teenagers a day in Malaysia were becoming hooked on drugs, with 65 percent of them taking synthetic substances in year 2022. [2]


Rapid test kit for drug of abuse screening

Urinary screening for drugs of abuse plays an important role in both the diagnosis and management of drug misuse.  Urine drug screens have been the most common method for analysis because of ease of sampling. The simplicity of use and access to rapid results has increased demand for and use of immunoassays. Rapid detection kits for drug of abuse screening offers the advantage of a rapid TAT and the ability to manage the patient, employee, or defendant in a timely manner.



Common settings for on-site drug of abuse testing include the emergency department, drug treatment and detoxification clinics, maternal fetal medicine, pain management, workplace, law enforcemen, sports franchises, and criminal justice centers.[3]

Reszon DOA Rapid Test Kit series manufactured by Reszon are available in several different test formats i.e. single drug test (dip stick); combo test (dip card or twin card) and cup test. Reszon DOA Rapid Test Kit series are rapid, competitive binding immunoassay for qualitative determination of multiple drugs and drug metabolites in human urine.  The test kits are easy, fast, and visually read screening method without the use of any instrument. The test system employs unique polyclonal antibodies to selectively identify specific drugs and drug metabolites in urine samples with a high degree of sensitivity.

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  1. Aliza Shah & Iylia Marsya Iskandar (2023) Malaysia could have a million addictsNew Strait Times, Accessed on 9 June 2023.
  2. Qistina Sallehuddin & Husna Syamila Riduan (2023) View drug abuse from mental health perspective, New Strait Times. Accessed on 9 June 2023.
  3. Haarathi Chandriah, Dry test versus wet test for drug testing/screening, Health Technology Assessment Section (MaHTAS), Medical Development Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia 013/09.
  4. Farah Natasya (2023) Do more to stop drug trafficking,The Sun Daily, Accessed on 9 June 2023