Youtube Facebook Twitter RSS Email Back to top
Youtube Facebook Twitter RSS Email Back to top

login  sign up
search the site
Home Team News
November 24, 2017 Friday | Last updated on 24/11/2017 5:21PM (Singapore)
 
Latest :
previous next
Home Team News
News
Home Team News
Home Team News Home / News / National Drug Control Policy Seminar: Understanding Singapore’s Stance against Drugs  
Published: 05 Jul 2017 03:35PM (Singapore)
Share this Share via FaceBook Share via Twitter Share via Email Print Friendly Page
Home Team News
 
National Drug Control Policy Seminar: Understanding Singapore’s Stance against Drugs
Home Team News
Participants at the seminar on 30 June 2017 were given an overview to understand Singapore’s drug control policies better. They also had the opportunity to interact with former drug abusers at The Helping Hand Halfway House.
 
By Muhamad Khair
Home Team News
Home Team News
Home Team News

The seminar on Singapore’s National Drug Control Policy, which was held at Revenue House on 30 June 2017, detailed how the holistic drug control policy has kept Singapore relatively drug-free.

Through sessions that covered the history of drug abuse, current realities and new challenges that Singapore faces and sharings by experts in the field, participants had a better appreciation of Singapore’s stance on drugs.

The seminar was attended by representatives from different ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI), Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Ministry of Law (MinLAW) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

It was the first in a series of seminars organised by an MHA Working Group led by the Advocacy Office against Drugs & Crime, which is comprised of officers from the Singapore Prisons Service and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).

Home Team News
Participants at the National Drug Control Seminar comprised representatives from various government bodies. PHOTO: Zavier Low

Cannabis and Its Harmful Effects

Speaking at the seminar, Director, Communications Division, CNB Mr Sng Chern Hong noted that “countries are adopting a harm reduction approach, or advocating for cannabis legalisation and the decriminalisation of drug consumption – we need our partners to understand our policy and be united in advocating for a drug-free Singapore in their engagements with domestic or international counterparts”.

Worrying domestic trends, such as the rising numbers of younger drug abusers (below the age of 30) in Singapore and the misperception of cannabis as being “cool” or having “medical benefits” among today’s youth were highlighted to the participants.

Such myths were surfaced and debunked by Dr Jimmy Lee, Senior Consultant & Deputy Chief, Department of General Psychiatry, and Senior Consultant, Research Division at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), who shared that cannabis use can “damage the memory, depressive behavior, and retard the growth of babies, if used during pregnancy”.

Home Team News
Participants of the seminar with Mr Amrin Amin, who graced the event. PHOTO: Zavier Low

Singapore’s “Harm Prevention” Approach

Clarifying Singapore’s policy approach to drugs was Professor Stella Quah, adjunct professor at the Duke-NUS Medical School, who highlighted two differing policy approaches to drugs – “harm prevention” and “harm reduction”.

The former is a multi-pronged policy approach which aims to eradicate the use of drugs totally while the latter focuses on reducing the harm induced by taking drugs. Singapore takes the former approach.

She highlighted that it was important to “understand the distinction between the two approaches – harm reduction is not suitable at all for Singapore”, adding that understanding this was paramount in knowing how to defend Singapore’s approach to drug addiction, which differs with drug prevention policies adopted by different countries.

Home Team News
Prof Stella Quah sharing about Singapore’s policy approaches against drugs. PHOTO: Zavier Low


Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs Mr Amrin Amin, reiterated the value of unity in the fight against drugs.

“To tackle drug related issues effectively, there needs to be a concerted effort by the different government organisations,” shared Mr Amin.

He also candidly clarified certain misconceptions about Singapore’s drug policies, stressing that there were comprehensive rehabilitative mechanisms in place for offenders.

For example, punishments for the consumption of drugs, such as imprisonment and caning, under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), are only meted out to third time repeat offenders while first and second time offenders who do not have an official criminal record are referred for rehabilitation instead.

Home Team News
Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs Mr Amrin Amin (third from left) during his fireside chat with participants of the seminar. PHOTO: Zavier Low

On the seminar, Deputy Director, Info Ops Centre, Ministry of Communications and Information Ms Karen Chen, said “This information would be useful in the future to debunk any misperceptions about the drug control policies in Singapore as it allowed (the participants) to get a better understanding of the whole issue”.

Halfway House Visit

The seminar concluded with a visit to The Helping Hand Halfway House, a rehabilitation centre for former drug offenders, where participants toured the compounds and learnt more about how the organisation helps to rehabilitate ex-offenders. They also met with residents who shared more on their journey in overcoming their drug addiction.

Reflecting on the visit, Deputy Director (International Cooperation), Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health Ms Yeo Wen Qing said she learnt about the plight of ex-drug offenders in Singapore, expressing that she was inspired by her meeting with “real people with real stories who managed to turn their lives around”.

Share this Share via FaceBook Share via Twitter Share via Email Print Friendly Page
 
back to top back to top
   
Home Team News
 
More News:
 
Exercise Heartbeat 2017 – Businesses Respond to “Terror Incident” at Clarke Quay
   
Exercise Northstar 10: SCDF ORNSmen Work Alongside Community Partners to Hone Crisis Response
   
Creating a Drug-Free World for Youth and the Global Community
   
 
Home Team News
 
comment If you have a comment to share, please send it to us at [email protected]
 

 

Home Team News
Related Department
Home Team News Central Narcotics Bureau
Home Team News
Home Team News Ministry Of Home Affairs
Home Team News
Home Team News
Home Team News
Home Team News
Also On This Site
Home Team News  
SGSecure: Boosting Mental Resilience Within Our Communities
Home Team News
Mr Karam Singh and Ms Salina Samion aren’t just psychologists with...
Home Team News
Home Team News  
First Through the Door
Home Team News
Rigorous planning, textbook execution – behind the scenes of an...
Home Team News
Home Team News  
HASE Spotlight: Finding Her Calling (and a Second Family) at Work
Home Team News
Ms Nur Syaheeda Ismail has taken on professional challenges and a...
Home Team News
Home Team News  
Honouring the Past, Embracing the Future
Home Team News
A fitting farewell for the Pioneers of the old Jurong Fire Station,...
Home Team News
Home Team News

Home Team News FaceBook Page
Home Team News
     
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Statement   Copyright © 2017 Ministry of Home Affairs. All Rights Reserved