Teen drug abusers going undetected
Drug abusers are going undetected for longer periods, making it harder for social workers to wean them off their habits.
According to the government's Central Registry of Drug Abuse, the median time last year for abusers to be discovered from their first drug abuse was 2.8 years, or about 34 months, compared with a 2008 figure of 1.9 years, or about 23 months.
The registry showed there were 3,132 people who only used drugs at their own or friends' homes in the first half of this year, compared with 3,058 a year earlier.
Chan Wai-leung, a Caritas social work supervisor, said said popular spots for hidden drug abusers included their own and friends' homes and upstairs pubs, making it difficult for social workers to reach them.
Chan called the figures worrying and said: 'A longer history of using drugs means greater difficulty in quitting drugs.
'Using ketamine has turned from a social gathering activity to self-entertainment. They do it to kill time at school or at work, too.'
Social workers have turned to the internet to reach out to these abusers, using keyword searches on forums to identify youngsters seeking help to quit.
In a raid on an upstairs pub in Prat Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui late last month, police found 112 under-age teens and a small amount of drugs.
Li Wing-yee, of the Hong Kong Playground Association's Yau Tsim Mong district youth outreach social work team, said upstairs pubs were popular with under-age teens, as it was legal for them to visit as long as they did not buy alcohol.
A police officer said: 'Family education is most important. It is impossible to place a police officer in every family.'