24 drugs to be added to Misuse of Drugs Act from Dec 1

Drugs seized during an operation by the Central Narcotics Bureau on Oct 31, 2019. Twenty-four drugs will be added to the Misuse of Drugs Act with effect from Dec 1, 2019. PHOTO: CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU

SINGAPORE - Twenty-four drugs will be added to the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) with effect from this Sunday (Dec 1), making their trafficking, manufacture, import, export, possession or consumption illegal.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said on Friday that these 24 drugs are new psychoactive substances (NPS).

NPS refers to substances which produce effects similar to those of controlled drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine or heroin.

CNB said that there has been a rapid increase in the number, type and availability of NPS across the globe, many of which have been reported in overseas journals to have no licit medical uses. Their abuse has been linked to adverse physical and psychological reactions, including paranoia, seizures, hallucinations and even death.

CNB cited a June report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report which stated that at least 892 NPS were identified by the end of 2018.

The 24 drugs will be listed in the first schedule of Singapore's MDA as Class A controlled drugs.

Any person found guilty of trafficking Class A controlled drugs will be jailed for at least five years and given five strokes of the cane.

They will also be liable for enhanced penalties if they reoffend or sell the drugs to young or vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, CNB will also be listing six NPS in the fifth schedule of Singapore's MDA from Sunday, aimed at controlling and preventing the proliferation of these NPS.

The fifth schedule allows CNB to seize these drugs so that their circulation can be restricted while research and industry consultation are conducted. These NPS can be temporarily listed in the fifth schedule for up to 12 months, or extended for another 12 months.

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