Drug abuse has irreversibly damaged the memory of 19-year-old young offender Lucas (not his real name), but the teenager was celebrating yesterday after scoring some of the highest HKCEE exam marks that his correctional institution has ever seen from its inmates. Lucas was among the top scorers of 26 inmates taking the HKCEE across three correctional institutions. Passing all nine subjects he took, with a total of 15 marks, which included two subjects taken on a self-study basis, Lucas bettered his previous two attempts at the examinations - he attained five marks last year. Two years ago, before being sent to the Pik Uk Correctional Institution for drug possession, he scored eight marks, failing in both Chinese and English. 'I was desperate after the failure and gave up on myself and began taking drugs,' the youngster said. 'But here I found goals again - I want to get into university and read business. 'My memory fades easily due to the cocaine and amphetamines,' he said. Ten hours of revision per day ensured he overcame the hindrance. 'And I now have my preparation for the A-level examinations next year ahead of me.' Twenty-six young offenders attained a combined pass rate of 74.6 per cent. Between them, they managed two distinctions, 17 credits and 87 passes. Top scorer was Jason (not his real name) with 16 marks, netting an A in Commerce and a B in Economics. The 21-year-old was sent to Cape Collinson Correctional Institution a year ago for selling pirated compact discs, but his mother said she was now overjoyed with his exam results. 'I know it was exhausting for him,' she said. 'I never imagined him getting such good results. But more importantly, I have seen his attitude to life improve in the institution.' Young offenders under 21 are required to take compulsory education programmes. Inmates who pass an initial assessment sit at least seven HKCEE subjects after half a year of training.