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Tackling drug abuse in youth
Ambrose Lee, Secretary for Security
Many Hong Kong youngsters know very little about soft drugs despite the sharp increase in their use. Juvenile drug crime rates have soared with over 30% of all drug crimes in 2007 committed by youth*, 90% of which concern the soft, psychotropic drugs.**

Cheap and plentiful cross-border supplies and the recruitment of students as dealers are two serious new concerns about this trend. Close monitoring of the situation is essential and immediate strategies are discussed in our own recent survey on tackling the problem.***

Strong preventive education tools can help the young understand and resist the temptation of drugs and a clear, powerful anti-drug message is delivered by former addicts talking about their life experience. Parents who consistently explain the physical and psychological results of drug abuse are also very effective.

We need your support in order to help the most vulnerable and will keep you informed of our efforts.


*** HKFYG Youth Study Series: Tackling Drug Abuse by Young People - A Study on Preventive Education and publicity Strategies. See below for a summary.
What's on
HKFYG launches series on national education:
Thirty Years of Reform and Opening-Up on the Mainland

The Federation will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the mainland's economic reform and opening up with a major triple programme featuring:

a youth forum with keynote speaker and film screening (see below)
a publication with 30 interviews with people experienced in the reforms conducted by HK200 participants
a photo exhibition on reform and opening up on the mainland

HKFYG national education series, activity number 1:
Youth Forum & Film Screening
Date 3-4 May 2008 Time 10 am
Venue HKFYG Building 9/F Auditorium
Keynote Speaker The Hon CY Leung
Target 400 students plus educators
Opening Ceremony HKFYG Lee Shau Kee College
Date Saturday 26 April 2008
Time 3.30pm
Venue 12 Tin Kwai Road, Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, N.T.
Officiating Guests
The Hon Michael Suen, GBS, JP, Secretary for Education
Dr The Hon Lee Shau-kee, GBM
Chairman, Henderson Land Development Company Limited
Enquires Ms Lim tel 2146 1128 or Ms Sham tel 3755 7107
HKFYG's Hong Kong Melody Makers Annual Concert
Sing Aloud Move Along The Hong Kong Melody Makers in Concert
Venue Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Jockey Club Auditorium
Date Saturday 26 April 2008 8pm
Guest of Honour Mrs Cissy Pao Watari
Contact Maggie tel 2395 5759 for more information.
What's new
Standard Chartered Hong Kong English Public Speaking Contest 2008
Sponsored by the Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd and supported by the Education Bureau, SCOLAR, Toastmasters International and The Law Society of Hong Kong, the contest had a total of 739 participants this year. The winners of the Grand Finals on 12 April at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine were:

Senior Division Champion Lee Sin Yee, St Paul's Co-Educational College*
Senior Division 1st runner-up Mary Jean Chan, Diocesan Girls School
Junior Division Champion Ophelia Lai German Swiss International School
Junior Division 1st runner-up Nicole Yuen, Diocesan Girls School

*to represent Hong Kong at the English-Speaking Union's International Public Speaking Competition next month in London

Senior Form Division judges Sir T.L. Yang, GBM, JP, Mr Iain Lindsay (British Consulate-General), Mr Chris Wardlaw (Education Bureau, HKSARG), Mrs Mary Szeto (English-Speaking Union), Mr Craig Armstrong, (Chief Information Officer Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Ltd)

Junior Form Division judges Mr Brian Sean DaRin (Vice Consul, Consulate General of The United States of America), Mr Simon Hunt (Director, English Language Service, British Council, Hong Kong), Mr Lester Garson HUANG, JP (President HKFYG, The Law Society of Hong Kong), Mr Simon Tham, (English-Speaking Union), Ms Fern Ngai, Head of Human Resources, Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Ltd
Hong Kong Odyssey of the Mind Programme
Congratulations to the winners of the local competitions held at the City University on 29 March. Winning teams who will go to World Finals of the Odyssey of the Mind in Maryland 29 May- 4 June 2008 are:

Ho Fung College (champion, Problem 1, Division II)
King Ling College (champion, Problem 1, Division III)
POH Chan Kai Memorial College
(champion, Problem 2 Division II)
Creative Primary School (champion, Problem 3, Division I)
Maryknoll Covent School (champion, Problem, 3 Division III)
Queen's College (champion, Problem 4 Division III)

Full results can be found at

Aggie of the Creative Education Unit, tel 2561 6149, for further details.
New Publication
HKFYG Youth Study Series Tackling Drug Abuse by Young People

A Study on Preventive Education and Publicity Strategies (YS39)

The study, carried out in February and March 2008, involved a telephone poll of 532 young people aged 10-24, 11 focus group interviews with 79 young people and 3 focus group interviews with 24 parents. 11 academics and experts were also interviewed.

40% of the young people polled knew little about soft (psychotropic) drugs. Nearly 30% of them thought the impact of psychotropic substances or soft drugs was less serious than that of hard drugs such as heroin or showed doubt of the impact of psychotropic substances. 7% of all respondents said that if they were tempted by friends they would not reject soft drugs outright but the majority said they would refuse.
Drug Cocktail

The survey looked at how schools, families and society spread anti-drug messages among young people. Nearly three-quarters of the poll and focus group interviewees said that hearing about the adverse effects of drugs from a former addict would be the most effective deterrent. About 70% thought that knowing the medical effects would also be a strong dissuader.

Over 30% said parents had the greatest responsibility to tell them about drugs although over 60% said their parents had never discussed the issue. This may be explained by lack of understanding about drugs or about the severity of the problem among today youth.

Cocaine leaf
Over 60% of those polled doubted the effectiveness of preventive anti-drug campaigns. The majority said that they heard the anti-drug message mainly on TV. Focus group interviewees agreed and thought TV was an effective channel for the message. Inviting celebrities to promote the anti-drug message was viewed as the least effective measure with about 40% of the view that celebrities could send effective anti-drug messages.

The study speaks of the paramount importance of long-term investment in effective preventive anti-drug education and in view of the rising trend of young drug users on the mainland, recommends stronger cross-border cooperation.

In order to keep track of trends among young drug users, systematic collection of data and compilation of statistics should take place every 2 years, instead of every 4, as in current practice. This would give a more accurate picture of the latest phenomena among young drug users. It was recommended that primary and secondary students in particular should be targeted in order to provide appropriate preventive education or guidance services as early as possible.
Drug risk

Visit for the Chinese press release.

Soft or psychotropic drugs are sometimes known as party drugs. They include cannabis and Ecstasy.
Hard drugs include heroin, cocaine and Ice. Alcohol and tobacco are also considered hard drugs.
Ketamine is an addictive hallucinogen that is difficult to classify as either 'soft' or 'hard'.
Thank you partners
Thank You, Partners
Charity football training from
Diadora Football for Life Academy
Underprivileged children aged 8-14 will get 25 free sessions of football training at Happy Valley Sports Ground between May and December this year. The aim of the Diadora Football for Life Academy is to give them a life-changing experience by providing training and other opportunities that would normally be beyond the means of low income families. They will also get a training kit, including uniform, water bottle and football. Warm-up exercises precede the football skills training and since the coaches are both expatriates & locals training is in English with the added bonus of learning English during the sessions. On 4 June 7 there will be a Football for Life Invitational tournament at which there will be a chance for the youngsters to meet big name footballers, some from overseas. Visit for more details or contact Mr. Fong of the HKFYG camps office, tel 2395 5759.
Midland Holdings Ltd makes HKFYG
beneficiary of charity screening
A charity screening of Three Kingdoms Resurrection of The Dragon《 三國》, directed by Daniel Lee and starring Andy Lau, is being held by Midland Holdings Ltd on 16 April at Palace IFC and HKFYG is fortunate to be the beneficiary. 20 lucky students will also benefit by receiving free tickets for the showing. Contact Bonnie Cheng, tel 3755 7101 for more details.
Hang Seng Bank sponsors
Table Tennis Fun Day
150 primary students from low income families at 3 schools have been invited to take part in a special table tennis day on Saturday 19 April courtesy of Hang Seng Bank. The students will be coached in table-tennis skills and have other entertainment provided for them by volunteer staff of the bank. The event will take place at the bank's headquarters penthouse from 2-5pm. Travelling expenses will also be covered. Contact Fanny Yu of the Federation's Student Guidance Team for a programme rundown and other details, tel 2395 0162.
Cathay Pacific International
Wilderness Experience 2008
This study tour, sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways and co-organized with HKFYG, takes 50 students aged 16-18 from Asia Pacific Rim countries to learn about the environment in Africa in the company of South African students.
The programme will be held from 10 to 18 July 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, with 45 students from 11 countries. They will see natural, unspoiled environment and learn about conservation while making friends overseas. Eight HK students will be selected and most of their expenses will be covered by Cathay. Applications for places are now called for and the closing date is 13 May 2008. Visit or or contact Juliana Lee, tel 3755 7097 for more details.
Youth Service America‧
Global Youth Service Day
The dates for Global Youth Service Day this year are 25-27 April. The Federation has once again been appointed as the Lead Agency in the HKSAR for the event by Youth Service America and its partner Global Youth Action Network. HKFYG will coordinate and organise 10,000 young volunteers in various community service projects. Visit or contact the HKFYG Youth Volunteer Network, tel 21690032.
Youth Concerns
Party drugs: a problem in Hong Kong and overseas

Ignorance about party drugs (also known as soft drugs and club drugs) is widespread but ignoring the problem will not make it go away. The long-term battle of combating abuse of drugs such as ketamine, cannabis and Ecstasy involves ensuring that parents, teachers and youngsters are all well-informed.

In Hong Kong, where cheap, plentiful cross-border supplies of party drugs and the recruitment of students as dealers are two serious new concerns, soft drug abuse continues to rise. Meanwhile, the subject is taboo in many schools and homes, with poorly-informed parents and anxious teachers unwilling to confront the issues. A preventive education strategy is vital to control the trend and change attitudes.

Many Hong Kong youngsters know very little about soft drugs despite the sharp increase in the use of soft drugs. Youngsters visiting Guangdong province cities and getting involved in drugs are one reason for the increase. Another is the proliferation of cheap, smuggled supplies from across the border.
Drug paraphernalia

922 of the 2,700 drug offences in Hong Kong in 2007 involved youth*
99% of these offences involved psychotropic drugs*
overall increase of 150% in cross-border arrests in 2007 compared to 2006**
over 4,000 Hong Kong teenagers regularly take drugs in Shenzen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai***
a pack of ketamine costs HK$80-$100 in Hong Kong compared to HK$40-50 in Shenzen***
80% of young drug users take ketamine*

Although there has been a significant downturn in youth drug abuse in the US, the 2007 Monitoring the Future study reported that a massive 47% of 12th graders had used illicit drugs at some time in the past. Other figures from the US, where ketamine use has been relatively low, show the following for MDMA (Ecstasy):

approx 6% of American high school students had tried Ecstasy at least once

this figure is down from 11% in 2003

58% of 12th graders who had tried Ecstasy said it was 'a great risk' to take

6.5% of 12th graders reported lifetime use of Ecstasy****

Police drug haul

In Britain, figures for 2004/05 show that 33% of males and 21% of females aged 16-24 had taken an illicit drug in the past year. 7% of males in the same age group had used Ecstasy. ***** 38% of British 15-16 year olds reported a lifetime use of cannabis and of all secondary school students 91% knew about the drug. 76% were aware of Ecstasy and 31% knew about ketamine.******

Educators and parents need support to cope rationally with their understandable fears of drug abuse and one of the most powerful tools of all is information. Knowledge of the real problems is a key to teaching the young how to understand and resist the temptation of drugs and a clear, effective, powerful anti-drug message is delivered by former addicts talking about their experience. A good example of such a message from a Thai schoolboy can be found at with a free downloadable version for classroom use.


**Customs & Excise Department figures reported in South China Morning Post 22/12/07
***report in South China Morning Post 3/1/07


for more information on common drugs and their effects.
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