Brunei to mark int’l anti-drug day in August

National 2 minutes, 23 seconds


BRUNEI will mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in August as its global observance falls during the month of Ramadhan.

International observance of the day, which aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society, falls on June 26 every year.

The sultanate will mark the international day with a ‘Musabaqah Tilawah Al-Quran’ (Al-Quran competition) targeted at Arabic and religious school students nationwide.

Hjh Pg Masnah Pg Hj Damit, assistant director of the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) Preventive Drug Education Division, said they have chosen ‘Al-Quran Benteng Ancaman Dadah’ (Al-Quran as the Fortress Against the Threats of Drugs) as the national theme.

The universal theme is ‘Listen First’. The theme, announced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), focuses on listening to children and youths as the first step to help them grow up healthy and safe.

“In line with the national theme, reading Al-Quran is the main fortress that will carry Muslims towards a full life by seeking rahmat (blessings) and syafaat (benefits) from Allah SWT,” Hjh Pg Masnah said yesterday during a press conference at the NCB’s headquarters.

The NCB is collaborating with the Department of Islamic Studies under the Ministry of Religious Affairs to organise the Al-Quran competition.

The final for the competition is also slated for August. The participants will comprise Year Seven, Year Eight and Year Nine Arabic school students as well as Year Five and Year Six religious school students. The preliminary rounds will be held in the last two weeks of July.

The competition aims to instil good values in Muslim youths that will shield them against negative influences.

Alongside the preventive drug awareness programmes, the NCB also implements a supervision scheme to guide and counsel recovering drug users in a bid to reintegrate them into society. The bureau also runs treatment and rehabilitation programmes at the Al-Islah Rehabilitation Centre through its therapeutic community programme.

In a statement emailed to The Brunei Times, the bureau said family support and involvement is important in drug users’ recovery process.

“The centre encourages and allows families to visit residents once every two weeks. They are also invited to events such as sports activities, Khatam Al-Quran and Hari Raya (celebrations). The bureau provides services such as family counselling and family support groups that help families accept the former drug users,” the bureau said.

According to the NCB, a minor is among the 182 residents currently receiving treatment at the Al-Islah Rehabilitation Centre. The ages of the 182 residents under the centre’s care range from 15 to 51 years old, while 20 of the residents are women.

The NCB made a total of 3,464 drug arrests in the 2010-2015 period. Last year, 639 people were arrested compared with 610 in 2014. The lowest number of arrests made in the last five years was 450 in 2012.

The Brunei Times