Time for M’sia to use better drug screening methods, says concerned doctor

Time for M’sia to use better drug screening methods, says concerned doctor

Urine testing has many shortcomings, more suited to random checks, he says

KUALA LUMPUR – Amid growing concerns over foreign drug traffickers entering Malaysia posing as students and the limitations in the current drug screening methods, there is an urgent need for a more effective entry point screening.

A doctor, who wanted to remain anonymous, said it is time advanced screening methods are used to identify foreign drug traffickers who disguise themselves as students.

He said the current method of urine testing has many shortcomings. For example, such so-called foreign students can avoid detection by abstaining from drugs five days prior to their urine screening appointment. Their urine samples will then yield negative results.

These “students” can also beat the system by bringing along a non-drug user’s urine to switch the samples inside the clinic’s toilet.

“It is, therefore, timely to implement advanced screening methods such as those used in developed countries. These methods would be a better alternative to urine testing, which is more suited for random checks, such as those conducted in nightclubs or on drivers,” he said.

There are now new screening methods that test the hair and nails, as traces of drugs in such samples can remain for up to 90 days. This doctor, who owns a chain of clinics, is concerned that drug syndicates have exploited Malaysia’s welcoming stance towards foreign students.

He said such syndicates entered the country legally on student visas and they profited by peddling their drugs to local students and expanding their market beyond the campus. Their entry has introduced new drugs to Malaysia, such as fentanyl – a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin.

“With xylazine, a veterinary drug, fentanyl’s potency increases, offering an extended state of euphoria (a feeling of intense excitement and happiness) to its user.

“These dangerous adulterations, coupled with the cheap xylazine from China that goes by the street name tranq, have found their way into the hands of foreign drug pushers, thus increasing their profit margins.”

Prior to this, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in his capacity as the Cabinet Committee on the Eradication of Drugs chairman, had made fresh calls for the drug menace to be tackled.

He had given the National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada) a three-month period to come up with effective strategies to address the problem.

Highlighting the urgency, the doctor urged collaboration between the Higher Education Ministry, police and Nada to curb the entry of foreign drug traffickers.

He believed that through advanced screening methods and an enhanced cooperation between these three parties would safeguard Malaysia’s reputation as a desirable destination for education and protect the well-being of its students.

“As the nation grapples with this crisis, fortifying the entry point screening has never been more critical.”

– Bernama, September 30, 2023

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