Time to talk about drug addiction

The United States has been using the penal model to manage the drug menace for decades (US communities crumbling under drug addiction crisis, Keeping the cravings at arm's length, and Tough-love rehab for the privileged; all published on March 20).

It has not worked. Now it is thinking of using the medical model.

But this will not be enough either. Education and awareness is the more effective way, going forward.

Every household, family, parent and child has to understand the dangers of addiction. Schools, communities, the media and leaders have to continuously talk about it.

Singapore has to learn from the US experience. There could be more people in Singapore who are on drugs than we know.

Let us talk about drug addiction, have a national conversation about it or a national campaign on it.

It has to be on a massive scale, so parents and children understand the ill-effects of drugs and how to address addiction if loved ones get into it.

We need to do all this before it is too late.

Poor economic performance, insufficient financial resources, poor family functionality, the inability to get a job, the breakdown of family units and the presence of other addictions (including smoking, alcohol, gambling and gaming) are some of the factors that can potentially drive people to drugs.

Government and families may not be able to cover all areas, but they can at least address the most vulnerable areas.

Rangithamalar Kandasamy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Time to talk about drug addiction'. Print Edition | Subscribe