No one-size-fits-all solution in global drug fight

While I admire Singapore's firm stance on drugs ("Singapore will not soften stand on drugs: Shanmugam"; April 22), this is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all nations.

For a country the size of Singapore, tough drug policies have proven to be effective in stemming the flow of drugs.

However, for much larger countries, such as Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, the countries which lobbied for the United Nations meeting on the drug issue, more needs to be done.

Furthermore, tough law enforcement in those nations seems to only add fuel to the fire, given the violence on their streets.

Harm reduction may be the next best thing for such nations.

Under circumstances where it is impossible to achieve the ideal drug-free scenario, the next logical step would be to provide safe and controlled environments to minimise the dangers of drug use.

Drug addicts have long been thought of as criminals and people undeserving of help. Due to their association with society's delinquents, a stigma is attached to drugs. However, drug addiction can also count as a health issue.

Legalising drugs may not be a bad thing for some societies. With appropriate controls in place, drug usage can be regulated.

Furthermore, this may, in turn, discourage people from turning to the illegal drug trade, cutting its revenue source and putting an end to the black market.

Decriminalising drugs may sound preposterous, but that is only because we are so used to associating drugs with illicit use, forgetting that users are victims as well.

Jacqueline Chen Meiting (Ms)