Needed: Harm Reduction Programmes in Plantations

For the past few months, I have met many disadvantaged and marginalised young people living in rural plantations, from Banting all the way to Morib. There are no harm reduction programmes for them, as the focus of Malaysia's national "Anti-Drug" campaigns are primarily focused in urban settings. 

I'm concerned about the lack of information about harm reduction, especially when more young people in rural areas are using or experimenting with heroin. To some extent there are visible indicators that young people in cities, for example in Kuala Lumpur, have moved to designer drugs. Injecting heroin is unpopular there, compared to 15 years ago. However plantations should be made a priority, especially for needle exchange programmes (NEP) which is endorsed by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. There are many areas where NEP can save lives of young injecting drug users. I've met and spoken to many young people using drugs, between the age of 13-22. Without NEP services, many won't make it. 

Its sad that NGOs are also focusing too much in the cities, congestion of services and the lack of accessibility of rural young people to them. 

Some data on NEP: 

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