Alarming increase in young abusers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 December, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 December, 1994, 12:00am

DRUG abuse is growing at a rate of around 50 per cent a year with an alarming increase in the number of younger people seeking help for soft drugs, a drug welfare organisation warned.

The number of men attending Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers centres for the first time increased 42 per cent - from 505 in the 1992/93 financial year to 716 in 1993/94.

There was a 58 per cent increase in the number of women.

Society chairman Frederick Yu Shek-kwong said the increase in the number of new drug users under 25 was even more disturbing.

The number of men under 25 attending the centres rose 57.6 per cent between 1993 and 1994, up from 194 to 306. The number of women under 25 also rose almost 60 per cent.

Mr Yu said there was an increasing problem with children taking 'softer' psychotropic drugs such as marijuana and prescription depressants such as Valium.

But Mr Yu said the real figure may be much higher.

'Many of these abusers don't feel they have a disease and they don't think it needs any treatment,' he said.

'We think the figure may actually be about two or three times higher than the government estimate of 3,000.'