Voices Of Youth

Fearmongering won't help drug fight

Madam Shirley Woon's letter (Time to take drug fight one level up; June 30) seems myopic and has the possibility of further ostracising drug users.

Her suggestion to show school children the harshness of prison life could result in children becoming risk-averse due to fear of punishment.

This would have an impact on the development of desirable traits like entrepreneurship and critical thinking. Singapore society already suffers from excess deference to authority.

There is ample evidence that punitive measures are hardly effective against drug offences, and that harm reduction is more effective and humane.

Instead of relying on external coercion, like prison sentences, why not educate the public on the effects of drugs on the body, so they understand the dangers?

Fearmongering only serves to alienate drug abusers, when it is crucial that they receive emotional support to help them kick the habit.

We do not need to go up any more notches in our approach to the drug abuse problem.

Instead, our efforts should be focused on providing proper medical treatment to those addicted, educating the public on drugs' proven effects, and removing the malicious stigma surrounding drug users.

This will foster a more gracious and inclusive society.

Maxwell Lee-Moeung Shan, 18, Junior college student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2017, with the headline 'Fearmongering won't help drug fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe