Singapore has resources to contain drug problem

Three elements are key in containing the drug abuse problem in Singapore - family, community and society (In Finland, fighting drug abuse a coordinated effort, Ex-addict tells parents: Get child into safe home, S'pore 'may need more stratified approach'; all published on June 27).

However, currently, families either deny the possibility of their children getting into drugs and/or do not offer effective parenting time for their children.

Meanwhile, the community and society see drug users as criminals who are out to harm society, due to the Government's incessant use of the moral or punitive model.

Unless these three elements work together comprehensively, the drug problem here will worsen.

Comprehensive and integrated strategies for education and awareness, rehabilitation and reintegration are needed.

We need to get families, communities and society on board, and immerse them in these strategies.

Perhaps the Government should consider the fight against drug proliferation as part of Total Defence.

We do not have to wait for evidence from abroad.

We have decades of experience in dealing with this problem, and we have credible professionals and specialised local agencies like the National Addictions Management Service to help us through.

The only hindrances are our ability to identify our adaptive challenges and the tendency to avoid the real work that has to be done.

We need real leadership in this fight against drugs.

Kuharajahsingam Karalasingam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore has resources to contain drug problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe