|Strength in numbers: More than 110 officials participated in the third "Guangdong, Hong Kong & Macau Conference on Policy to Tackle Drug Abuse & Trafficking" in Macau with the theme of improving communication and strengthening co-operation.|
The joint efforts of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau law-enforcement authorities in recent years in the fight against drug trafficking and cross-boundary drug abuse have been effective in curbing the supply of drugs, Permanent Secretary for Security Stanley Ying says.
"As one of the regions in China with the busiest flow of people and cargo, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau should work closely to deal with the problem on a regional level," Mr Ying said.
Officiating at the opening ceremony of the third "Guangdong, Hong Kong & Macau Conference on Policy to Tackle Drug Abuse & Trafficking" in Macau today, Mr Ying said the three places have different laws, practices and systems.
"It is all the more important for us to strengthen our co-operation in order to stifle drug traffickers, and seek further opportunities to co-operate in legislation and law enforcement, preventive education as well as treatment and rehabilitation," he said.
He noted that a joint investigation by Hong Kong Customs and its counterpart in Shenzhen which began in April has had a fruitful outcome. This shows the importance of cross-boundary co-operation for enforcement agents on a regional level, he said.
Officials exchange views to strengthen co-operation
More than 110 officials from the three places participated in the conference, which the Macau Government hosted. Its theme was improving communication and strengthening co-operation.
Anti-drug officials exchanged views on matters related to drug policy and the latest problems and developments in different areas of work. They also had in-depth discussions, with proposals made during the three concurrent sessions on anti-drug legislation and law enforcement, education, and treatment and rehabilitation.
They discussed ways to sustain the momentum of further co-operation and establish a liaison mechanism in combating drug abuse.
The first conference was held in Hong Kong and the second in Zhongshan, which had laid the foundation for further co-operation in tackling drug problems.
Psychotropic substance abuse cases up 40％ in five years
Addressing the opening ceremony, Action Committee Against Narcotics chairman Dr Choi Yuen-wan said Central Registry of Drug Abuse figures recorded a 40% increase in the number of psychotropic substance abuse cases in the last five years.
The problem of drug abuse among teenagers under 21 had aroused great concern.
He said more than 90% of these teenage abusers were addicted to psychotropic drugs, while over 40% of them took more than one kind of drug.
Dr Choi pointed out young drug abusers started taking drugs at about 15 to 16 years of age. The reasons included peer influence, curiosity and pleasure. Two thirds of them had received secondary education while another 30% had completed high school.
A quarter of young drug abusers still in school
Among the young drug abusers, one fourth were still in school while a third had a full-time job. Slightly more than a third were either out of school or unemployed. About 65% had no criminal record.
Dr Choi said the complexity of the problem was reflected in initial analysis. It affected not only the frustrated teenagers, but also some pop idols.
"It is feasible and important to give these young people a chance to start a new life as early as possible. More than 90% of our young people do not take drugs. It is also important to strengthen their 'immunity' to drugs by cutting off the drug supply to create a drug-free environment," he said.
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