Parliament: Exposing children to risks of consuming drugs among new offences under proposed changes to law

Heroin and cash recovered by police officers from a 49-year-old man on Aug 16, 2018. PHOTO: CNB & SPF

SINGAPORE - Under proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act, it will be an offence to expose children to drugs or permit a young person to consume drugs.

These are among the proposals that come with heavy penalties in an effort to address activities surrounding the drug menace.

"The Bill introduces a new provision which makes it an offence for an adult who permits or does not take reasonable steps to prevent a young person (defined to be below 21 years of age) from consuming controlled drugs in the adult's possession," the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Monday (Nov 19).

A maximum prison sentence of ten years is proposed for the offence.

The law will also come down hard on those involved in acts of "contamination".

These include introducing a drug trafficker to another person and teaching a person how to cultivate, manufacture, consume or import controlled drugs.

First-time offenders will face up to 10 years in jail.

Likewise, a person can be liable for disseminating or publishing information on the cultivation, manufacture, consumption and trafficking of drugs.

First-time offences would face a jail term not exceeding five years or a maximum fine of $10,000.

To address the issue of parents who "persistently absent themselves" from compulsory counselling sessions for low-risk youth abusers, the Bill will make it mandatory for parents or guardians of youth abusers to attend counselling.

Parents can be charged and punished with a fine if they fail to comply.

The Bill also seeks to grant the director of the Central Narcotics Bureau the power to order a person to provide urine or hair samples.

Introduced in 2012, hair analysis is used as an alternative detection tool as it is able to detect drugs consumed.

The Bill proposes a mandatory minimum jail term of one year for first-time convictions of drug consumption or failure to provide urine or hair specimens.

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