Assessment of an Innovative Voluntary Substance Abuse Treatment Program Designed to Replace Compulsory Drug Detention Centers in Malaysia

Farrah Khan, Archana Krishnan, Mansur A. Ghani, Jeffrey A. Wickersham, Jeannia J. Fu, Sin How Lim, Sangeeth Kaur Dhaliwal, Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Frederick L. Altice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: As part of an ongoing initiative by the Malaysian government to implement alternative approaches to involuntary detention of people who use drugs, the National Anti-Drug Agency has created new voluntary drug treatment programs known as Cure and Care (C&C) Centers that provide free access to addiction treatment services, including methadone maintenance therapy, integrated with social and health services. Objectives: We evaluated early treatment outcomes and client satisfaction among patients accessing C&C treatment and ancillary services at Malaysia's second C&C Center located in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Methods: In June-July 2012, a cross-sectional convenience survey of 96 C&C inpatients and outpatients who entered treatment >30 days previously was conducted to assess drug use, criminal justice experience, medical co-morbidities, motivation for seeking treatment, and attitudes towards the C&C. Drug use was compared for the 30-day-period before C&C entry and the 30-day-period before the interview. Results: Self-reported drug use levels decreased significantly among both inpatient and outpatient clients after enrolling in C&C treatment. Higher levels of past drug use, lower levels of social support, and more severe mental health issues were reported by participants who were previously imprisoned. Self-reported satisfaction with C&C treatment services was high. Conclusions/Importance: Preliminary evidence of reduced drug use and high levels of client satisfaction among C&C clients provide support for Malaysia's ongoing transition from compulsory drug detention centers (CDDCs) to these voluntary drug treatment centers. If C&C centers are successful, Malaysia plans to gradually transition away from CDDCs entirely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-259
Number of pages11
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • addiction treatment
  • Asia
  • compulsory drug detention centers
  • drug policy
  • harm reduction
  • Malaysia

Cite this