More than nine in 10 teens here who spoke to their parents about the dangers of drugs said such talks helped them to stay clean. Yet just one in two teens has such conversations.
That is why the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) is trying to get more parents to step up, with these statistics being used in a poster as part of its efforts.
The Central Narcotics Bureau also launched a parents' handbook yesterday which is available on its website.
Said NCADA chairman Hawazi Daipi: "While many parents may understand the importance of staying drug-free, it may not be a priority for them to talk to their children about this. However, with youth having misconceptions and exhibiting more liberal attitudes towards drugs, it is important for them to start talking to their children before they succumb to the temptation of taking drugs."
A survey commissioned by the NCADA also showed that anti-drug laws and penalties were key deterrents for a third of the young people interviewed. This proportion was higher than that of those citing other deterrent aspects of drugs. About a quarter of the young saw the effect of drugs on the body and mind as a reason to stay away, while another quarter cited their addictive nature.
Businessman Khalid Awang, an anti-drug advocate with the NCADA, said parents should be pro-active in sharing anti-drug information with their children. The 49-year-old frequently talks to his children, aged 20, 19 and 12, about drugs and the dangers of substance abuse. "You don't expect your kids to come and talk to you about drugs because they might fear you are pre-judging them or you might think they have tried drugs," he said. "It's very important for them to know you want to be there for them when they're going through important milestones and learning these life lessons."
As part of its anti-drug work, the NCADA has also enlisted young people to serve as anti-drug advocates to share the importance of a drug-free lifestyle.