New worry for students: "Energy sticks" raise health concerns

Community action needed to curb dangerous "energy stick" trend

15 Feb 2024 09:57am
The latest issue to emerge is the existence of the "energy stick," a nasal inhaler product that provides energy and freshness to users and is openly and widely sold for as low as RM2.50 to RM10.
The latest issue to emerge is the existence of the "energy stick," a nasal inhaler product that provides energy and freshness to users and is openly and widely sold for as low as RM2.50 to RM10.

Negative student behaviors like skipping school, smoking, and vaping are unfortunately prevalent, often sparking concern.

Recently, a new worry has emerged: the "energy stick," a nasal inhaler marketed as an energy booster and sold for as little as RM2.50.

According to a post by Public Health Malaysia on Facebook, the small-sized, colorful energy stick comes with various appealing flavors and has two nozzles that fit into the nostrils, allowing users to inhale directly into their lungs.

The promotion of this product with taglines like 'sedut dahulu, baru pergi ke sekolah' (inhale first before going to school) or 'sedut dulu, baru mulakan kerja' (inhale first before starting work) is similar to drug use through nasal inhalation or snorting.

Psychologically, it has a very negative impact as it encourages users to explore other substances, including drugs.

From the author's perspective, the proliferation of the energy stick among students today is alarming and poses a burden for both parents and teachers.

Continuous monitoring is essential to prevent children from succumbing to the trap of the energy stick. But until when can we monitor?

If at home, these children can be scolded and reprimanded. But what if they are outside?

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Do parents know if students use the energy stick?

In this context, this writer advocates for immediate action by relevant authorities to address the issue rather than allowing it to persist.

Find the traders immediately.

Issue warnings or take further action against them.

It's not about preventing energy stick sellers from making a living, but we want to avoid many negative risks if this sale continues.

For your information, the intake of energy sticks can pose various health risks, including injury or bleeding in the nasal and respiratory passages, damage to the mucus in the nasal cavity, allergies, and poisoning due to the inability to identify the substances used, as well as contamination and infection.

Strengthening the negative health risks of taking energy sticks, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) President Professor Amrahi Buang said the product is dangerous for school students but is still actively promoted by traders through e-commerce platforms.

Amrahi urged the Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad to take immediate action against the sellers.

If not halted, it will undoubtedly lead to users becoming addicted, risking their health.

Concerned about the fate of young people if they take energy sticks, this writer began to wonder what the community could do if they encountered students using them in public places.

Is there a specific channel that the public can use to complain and address this issue?

According to Deputy Education Minister Wong Kah Who, the public can lodge complaints about the use of energy sticks on the Public Complaints Management System (SISPAA) Education Ministry webtie.

He said such complaints are essential to ensure that the ministry can take appropriate action on the matter before it becomes more harmful.

However, the Education Ministry has yet to receive any complaints about this issue.

If there are any, they will take strong action to ensure the health and welfare of students are guaranteed.

The public, especially the administrations of each school, must monitor and, if any incidents occur, report them directly to Education Ministry.

The author's advice is to stay away from energy sticks and never have the intention to try them, even just for fun.

Once you approach this tool, you will be addicted forever and end up harming yourself.

*Roshlawaty Raieh is a journalist with Sinar Bestari.