• Short Summary

    Hong Kong authorities believe they have developed the best programme in the world for dealing with drug addiction.

  • Description

    Hong Kong authorities believe they have developed the best programme in the world for dealing with drug addiction.

    The British colony has a serious drug addiction problem. One report estimates that at least 80-thousand people -- one in fifty of the population -- are addicted. Some estimates put the proportion even higher.

    The key to the treatment programme is a law passed in 1969 which authorises the Governor to commit men and women convicted of offences punishable by imprisonment to treatment centres instead of to prison if they are found to be addicted to drugs.

    Three main treatment and rehabilitation centres now exist, run by the Prisons Department, and between them they have accommodation for nearly 14-hundred male and female addicts.

    This film shows one of these -- the Tai Lam Addiction Treatment Centre. It follows a number of patients as they arrive; shows indoor and outdoor activities of the patients; and a discharged patient leaving.

    Patients stay from six to eighteen months, and when they leave remain under supervision for a year.

    SYNOPSIS: In Hong Kong, Government authorities believe they have devised a better way of treating drug addicts than anywhere else in the world. Under powers granted the Governor in 1969 people convicted of offence punishable by imprisonment can be committed to a drug treatment centre like this if they are addicted to a dangerous drug.

    Regular medical checks are made on all the patients. Diet is carefully planned and records are kept of their weight.

    As soon as possible the people ordered to the treatment centres are given work to do. Many have already overcome the agony of the withdrawal period in a prison or other centre. If they have not, the Tai Lam Treatment Centre has a hospital where doctors help patients by giving them medicines...The kind of work a patient does depends on how strong he is, and upon whether he has a trade.

    Carpenters, for example, work at their trade.....

    Metal-workers at theirs.....

    Other do healthy work out of doors. They make paths, plant trees, and work in villages. Work of this kind - much of it in the open-air - is found to be very beneficial for the health of these people who with a proper diet, always put on weight in the treatment centres.

    Everybody is encouraged to play indoor and outdoor games. This centre has a football team which plays against teams visiting from outside clubs.

    All the people meet regularly in groups to discuss their problems with members of staff. All patients are considered for release or a short leave at the end of six months. The longest detention period is eighteen months, but there is always a compulsory year of after-care, during which released patients are kept under supervision by Prison Department officials and offered help with their problems.

    Hong Kong now has three centres with room for nearly fourteen-hundred addicts. Officials believe they are proving a unique success.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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