Drug addiction is a long-term mental illness. It leads to a person taking narcotics regularly, notwithstanding the harm they inflict.

Drug usage over time can alter the brain and lead to addiction.

The brain changes from addiction can be lasting, so drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease. This means that people in recovery are at risk of taking drugs again, even after years of not taking them.

The number of drug users detained by Malaysia’s National Anti-Drug Agency declined by 20.8% to 20, 643 in 2020, down from 26, 080 in 2019.

Males made up the majority of drug addicts (2020: 95.3%, 2019: 95.7%).


the truth about drugs

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complicated condition in which a person uses a substance in an uncontrolled manner, even though it has negative consequences.

People with SUD have a strong desire to use a particular substance(s), such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs, to the point where their ability to function in daily life is harmed.

Even when they know it is causing or will cause issues, people continue to take the material because of addictions. Addictions are used to describe the most serious SUDs.

When someone has a substance abuse problem, they typically develop a tolerance to the substance, which means they require more of it to feel the effects. (American Psychiatric Association)


Reasons for taking substances can be because of:

  1. Ignorance & misconceptions – lack the depth of knowledge
  2. Influenced by risky lifestyle behaviours
  3. To relieve emotional pain, forget problems or feel numb
  4. To feel good & better – feeling of pleasure, “high” or “intoxication”
  5. To increase performance or thinking
  6. To feed curiosity by experimenting with their peers

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse


Symptoms of substance use disorder are grouped
into four categories:

Impaired control: A strong desire or craving to take the substance; failed to control substance use

Social problems: Leads to failure to fulfil key duties at work, school, or at home

Risky use: Substance is used in risky settings; continued use despite known problems

Drug effects: Tolerance (need for larger amounts to get the same effect); withdrawal symptoms (different for each substance)