Time to take drug fight one level up

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ministry of Health worked very successfully with the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association with their anti-drug abuse campaigns. That was then; times have changed (Drug use among the young: Abusers getting more brazen; June 26)

Campaigns and school talks can no longer capture the attention of the young people today. A new approach is needed.

Having worked with former drug abusers, I have noticed that most of them, if not all, express regret for taking drugs.

The reasons for starting on the habit varied. Some of them said they were unaware of how serious the consequences of drug use were.

Many of the younger ones took drugs out of curiosity in spite of knowing that it was illegal to do so. Peer pressure was also commonly cited.

When asked what would deter them from touching drugs again, the response was usually almost unanimous - not wishing to return to the drug rehabilitation centre (DRC).

The Education Ministry together with the Health Ministry and DRC could consider organising learning journeys for upper primary schools onwards to the Singapore Prison Service.

Nothing registers like seeing first-hand what prison life is like. If we are serious about going all out to stop drug abuse in schools and saving our young ones from the clutches of drugs, let's take the fight a notch higher and stop mollycoddling our youth.

Shirley Woon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2017, with the headline 'Time to take drug fight one level up'. Print Edition | Subscribe