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Doc: Addiction starts as fun
Published on: Monday, March 30, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: Drug addiction usually begins for fun before, after a period of time, it evolves and becomes a need, said Clinical Director of Solace Sabah, Dr Prem Kumar Shanmugam.

"It doesn't matter that they are experimenting. Out of ten people on drug use, about three would most likely be predisposed to becoming addicts."

He said this at a talk on Youth in Addiction at Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

He also said the usual reason youth get involved in drugs is because of their friends and in that experimental phase, some get hooked to the drugs.

Prem, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Solace Sabah, the first addiction treatment centre in Malaysia, said over time addicts build a tolerance to the drugs they use and would have the need to use more which would have bigger damage on them.


He further said the reason youth are more vulnerable in becoming addicts may be due to the immaturity of their brain.

"The teen brain's impulse control has yet to be develop to reach its full maturity. Therefore, they react strongly to rewards than children and adults.

"So if you have a lecture but you have friends asking you to go for a movie, it is more likely you would join your friend because of the reward of watching the movie even if you know you have a lecture to go to."

Furthermore, Prem also said the reason why some addicts cannot stop their addiction is because their addiction is an illness.


Meanwhile, he also invited a former addict to share his story of getting involved in drug abuse.

According the man who declined to be named, he got involved with alcohol at the age of 15 before experimenting with marijuana at the age of 16. Both as a result of the influence of his friends who were already abusers.

"I did not at that point realise the drugs and alcohol were dictating my life because I would only go meet my friends or go to a party that I knew had drugs or alcohol.

"When I got arrested for drink-driving, it gave me a hard time getting into university but even after I did get into it, I didn't stop my abuse.


"It got to a point where I was thinking my sisters were conspiring to kill me and my dad was out to steal my brain.

I only stopped when my parents intervened and I got into a rehabilitation centre," he said, adding he has now gone on to working to help other substance abusers get their life back.

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