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Macao sets up new committee to tackle drug-control issues
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With the aim to step up its fight against drugs, the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government announced Monday the establishment of an anti-drug committee, which will specifically deal with the city's drug-control issues.

The committee will advise the government on the making and implementing of anti-drug policies, and coordinate the anti-drug campaigns launched by the public and private institutions, Chief Executive of the SAR, Ho Hau Wah, said in a written directive concerning the establishment of the committee.

The secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the SAR, Chui Sai On, will chair the committee, members of which comprise official representatives from over 10 governmental departments and at most 13 representatives from all walks of the society, according to the government statement.

The government's move demonstrated its determination in the fight against drugs, and as more local young people were exposed to drugs in recent years, the authorities will also strengthen its prevention efforts, said Von Yim Mui, an official of the SAR's Social Welfare Bureau.

She added that a new drug rehabilitation center will soon be completed, which can provide better treatment and accommodation to drug-addicted youths.

According to official statistics, the Drug Treatment Complex Center of the Bureau has received a total of 266 drug addiction cases in the first five months of this year, and the youngest person involved in such cases aged only 14.

"The committee can establish an anti-drug fund, with which it can flexibly finance anti-drug institutions that offer rehabilitation services to local drug addicts," proposed Ho Wing Yin, a lecturer of social work major at the Macao Polytechnic Institute.

Apart from governmental level reform aimed to tackle drug-related issues, the Social Welfare Bureau will also hold a carnival with anti-drug themes Sunday, in a bid to mark the International Anti-Drug Day on June 26, and pass on the message of drug-abuse prevention to the people.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2008)

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