Motion on “Concerns on Teenage Drug Abuse Worsening”(2009.04.30)

Motion as amended by Hon CHAN Kin-por and Hon WONG Sing-chi

“That, the youth drug problem has been plaguing the Hong Kong community for a long time, the recent incidents such as secondary students taking drugs on campus and young singers being arrested in Japan for suspected possession of drugs which occurred successively have once again aroused the concern about the youth drug problem; yet, the Government¡¦s concern about the deteriorating youth drug problem has all along been inadequate and the progress of its anti-drug work is slow; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to expeditiously formulate a comprehensive anti-drug policy, which includes providing additional resources and complementary measures to tie in with the voluntary school-based drug testing programme to help drug-abusing students and curb the spread of the menace of drugs in schools, and measures providing support to parents and families as well as allocating additional resources to social workers, particularly school and outreaching social workers, so as to address the increasingly serious youth drug problem and rebuild a healthy atmosphere in schools.”

President, the motion moved by Dr Joseph LEE today has brought back memories of my childhood in public housing estates.

The public housing at that time was a breeding ground for many illegal activities, including “Tse Fa” lottery, gambling, gang fighting and triad society recruitment. But among all, it was the hazards of drugs that had left me with the deepest impression. At that time, one of my neighbours was a drug addict who tried to quit drugs once every few months. Each time he was tied in a bed in order to break the addiction. As his neighbours, we were very much affected because we often heard him screaming during those few days. But the same thing happened again and again, once every few months. Besides, we often saw drug addicts hanging around public toilets and the area nearby and this had left me with two deep impressions on drugs. The first impression is: once you try it, it will be very difficult for you to get rid of it. The second one is: when craving for drugs, you will make any promise or do anything to satisfy your addiction, with no regard to human dignity.

I believe Dr Joseph LEE, Mr WONG Sing-chi and other Members all have profound insights on the motion “Concern about the youth drug problem”. Regarding the amendment that I am going to move today, I would like to put particular emphasis on several fundamental factors that lead to the problem. These factors are parents, families and schools.

Life is difficult today. To make ends meet, a lot of parents have to work outside day and night, and many of them cannot afford to hire domestic helpers to look after their children. Feeling exhausted after a whole day’s work, when they arrive home and see their children indulging in computer games or engaging in internet surfing while doing homework, they will easily lose temper and scold their children. On the other hand, the children often complain about their parents scolding them or spending too much time watching TV, playing mahjong or horse race betting. Time after time, they will become more estranged from their parents since there is littleCommunication between them.

Parents find it hard to manage their children as they always offend them with words. For the children, they think that their parents, instead of caring for them, only scold them and beat them up. They gradually feel that life and family are meaningless and thus lose their life goals.

Under such circumstances, if these children are lured by some delinquents in their peer groups or in school, they will easily start taking drugs, and eventually, get addicted and have their future ruined.

Therefore, in order to prevent teenagers from taking drugs, I think parents are actually the most important gatekeepers, while other family members such as grandparents, brothers and sisters also play a very important role. Finally, the role of schools, including headmasters, teachers, social workers and schoolmates, should not be overlooked either.

In fact, the Government can support parents, families and schools to fight against drug use.

First of all, promotion is needed. Messages should be conveyed to parents to let them realize that they are the most important gatekeepers in the prevention of youth drug use, whereas schools and the Government only play a supplementary role. Actually, if their children take drugs, the parents should be held responsible.

Secondly, we have to emphasize the importance of harmony, mutual support and mutual encouragement in a family.

Thirdly, we have to make headmasters, teachers and students realize the urgency as well as the importance of reporting and combating drug trafficking in schools.

Regarding support in other areas, the Government should work out a plan for organizing or subsidizing a series of family and parent-child activities, providing parent-child counselling service and organizing parent-child workshops, as well as carrying out campaigns in schools to encourage the reporting of drug use as a way to combat the problem. Apart from that, it is more important for the Government to substantially increase the resources for school social workers and outreach social workers according to the situation of individual districts since the seriousness of the problem varies in different districts. This will allow the social workers to play the role of front-line gatekeepers, so that they can effectively observe the situation in schools, explain the hazards of drugs to students, provide counselling service, and refer students to relevant organizations for further follow-up when necessary.

President, the issue we discuss today has also made me rethink how to get along with my two sons. In the past, once I arrived home, I would ask my sons, “Have you finished your homework? Have you played computer games?” But now I will ask them, “Do you have any happy or unhappy experience to share with dad today?” Looking at the relationship between me and my parents as well as that with my two sons, I believe that parents always have to take the first step to improve the parent-child relationship. What the teenagers need is not material satisfaction but their parents’ love and care, which is the most fundamental and important thing. I absolutely believe that only when the general public understands the importance of the role of parents, families and schools in combating youth drug use can the youth drug problem possibly be tackled at root.

President, I so submit.

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