Sat, Feb 28, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Hotline for drug abusers is open from tomorrow

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A government-run hotline — 0800-770-885 — to aid and rehabilitate drug abusers will go into operation tomorrow, officials said on Thursday.

The hotline aims to help drug addicts kick their habit and start a new life. It is estimated that 1 percent of the nation’s population is addicted to drugs.

“Drug addition has become a serious problem in the country. There are about 230,000 drug abusers, whith most of them aged between 15 and 44, and the relapse rate of drug addicts following detoxification is as high as 89.1 percent,” Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said at the launch of the toll-free hotline, quoting Ministry of Justice figures from last year.

The drug problem has a negative effect on the nation’s labor force participation and shows there is room for improvement in the government’s drug prevention and abstention measures, Liu said.

The hotline, together with the Web site, will try to help addicts reject drugs and reintegrate into society by providing psychological support as well as information on social aid, medical treatment, educational resources and job opportunities.

Liu encouraged drug addicts who are reluctant to seek rehabilitation for fear of being identified to make use of the hotline, saying that their privacy and anonymity would be respected.

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