KUALA LUMPUR: The amendments to the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 have been tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for the first reading by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) on Tuesday (July 2).

The proposed amendments, among others, seek to differentiate the interpretation of a drug or substance-dependent person and a misuser.

“The proposed Act also seeks to widen the scope of the treatment and rehabilitation to a drug or substance dependant or a drug or substance misuser,” the amendment Bill read.

A new Section 6a which allows the Magistrate to allow a drug or substance misuser to undergo treatment and rehabilitation on the recommendation of a rehabilitation officer and once the individual has been given an opportunity to make representations, has been proposed.

Drug or substance-dependent individuals will also be eligible for the same.

A drug or substance dependent or misuser can also apply to undergo voluntary treatment.

Based on test results, a rehabilitation officer will decide whether the individual will undergo treatment and rehabilitation at a rehabilitation centre, service Centre or private rehabilitation centre for a period not exceeding two years; or in the community under the supervision of an officer.

Under the proposed amendments for Section 9, the guardian of suspects or those who have reason to believe that the minor is a drug or substance dependent or a misuser can also apply for the minor to be treated and rehabilitated. The minor will have to be produced before a rehabilitation officer.

The parent or guardian of the minor shall also attend the treatment and rehabilitation programme together if required by the rehabilitation officer.

Guardians or parents who fail to comply with the conditions imposed will be liable to a fine of up to RM5,000.

Under Section 21, the period of imprisonment or detention will be deemed as the period of treatment and rehabilitation.

Other amendments was on Section 21, where the period of imprisonment or detention of an adult or minor can be deemed as the period of treatment and rehabilitation in the community, or at a rehabilitation centre or service centre.

Also significant was that individuals could serve the remainder of their prison or detention term at a rehabilitation or service centre if they were ordered to undergo treatment.

“During the period of imprisonment or detention such as drug or substance dependant or drug or substance misuser shall undergo treatment and rehabilitation conducted by the Rehabilitation Officer,” the Bill read.

The scope of substance covered will include psychotropic substances specified under the Third Schedule of the Poisons Act 1952 and toluene.

The Bill is expected to be tabled for the second reading in the current meeting.

Saifuddin said on June 30, that individuals who voluntarily come to rehabilitation centres for treatment will be directly referred to National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) rehabilitation officers, who will then conduct urine tests and determine whether they require treatment.