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Thursday, February 24, 2005
Six Hell Carnival


A six-day carnival aimed at battling the 6 types of deadly drugs in the country -- heroin, morphine, syabu, ecstasy, ganja and opium --was launched by the PM recently. The carnival is called "Enam Jahaman" aka "Six Hell" Carnival. Its purpose being to build awareness that drug abuse is the country's number one enemy among our youths.

One again, probably for the umpteenth time, the PM reminded the nation that the drug addiction problem in the country has reached a dangerous level. But have we taken effective measures and made sufficient effort to deal with the problems. Looking at the quoted statistics, one would have to say know.

According to the PM, 38,672 drug addicts were detected in 2004 alone and 19,810 of them were new addicts while 18,862 were recidivists. Certainlyy a high enough relapse rate among those who have spent time in Kem Serenti. 28,052 of the total were in the 19-39 age group, the group which is considered to be the most viable contributors to the nation's economy.

And what has the PM to say to them in order to reverse the dangerous trend. The PM said ::
"I believe drug is a big danger to our country and has triggered a dangerous situation in the country. So, my hope for the young is to appreciate yourselves...love yourselves.

"If you do not want to love others, at least love yourselves...take care of your body to be healthy as a healthy and fit body will bring happiness."


It looks like those dealing with this problem would have to come up with more effective measures if they are serious in dealing with this problem which has reached a dangerous level. Apart from the gomen, the National Anti-Drugs Agency and Umno's Drug Eradication Bureau, the youths, themselves and their parents and the community must actively participate. The war on drug dependence is multipronged, multi-disciplinary and community based. Such a programme can be found here.

There is some evidence surfacing that drug addiction (other forms presumably too) could be due to 2 dodgy areas in the frontal lobe of our brain. These are the anterior cingulate cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex -- these are the areas utilised for weighing up the pros and cons of an action. Addicts may have faults in these areas in the sense that they are unable to slam the brakes on potentially dangerous or inappropriate behaviours. The present belief is that there is an over-responsive reward system in the brain causing a resultant addictive behaviour. The researcher ino this new theory, neuropsychologist Dr Murat Yucel says it like this ::
The brain has a reward system that when you engage in activities that help promote reproduction or survival such as sex, eating or nurturing behaviour with your kids...it releases a drug called dopamine which is what gives you pleasure."

This over-responsive reward system explains the craving of addicts. But the behaviour of some addicts who are unable to put a stop to their behaviour even when faced with potentially disastrous outcomes cannot be explained away by this over-reponsive reward system. This where the faulty system comes in.

There is more to be said regarding the frontal lobes of our brains::the areas which are involved in making our decisions. Research says that these areas are not fully develop when we are in our teens and those who pander drugs and cigarettes and alcohol are fully aware of this. That is why they are targetting this age group when they want them to be hooked whether on drugs, cigarettes or alcohol. There are also gomen who have considered targetting this age group for votes!. Just imagine being addicted to voting for Party 123 or Party ABC!




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