SINGAPORE - All 14 psychoactive substances currently "temporarily listed" in the Fifth Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act will from May be reclassified as Class A controlled drugs under the First Schedule.
This means that the trafficking, manufacture, import, export, possession or consumption of these substances - chemicals which alter brain function, causing temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behaviour - will be an offence.
Among the 14 drugs are those which go by the name of 5-FluoroAPINACA and 7-APDB.
Any person found guilty of trafficking Class A controlled drugs faces a minimum of five years' imprisonment and five strokes of the cane. They will also be liable for enhanced penalties if they re-offend or sell to young or vulnerable persons.
The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has also added 18 new substances to the Fifth Schedule. Explaining the changes in a statement, CNB said there has been a rapid increase in the number, type and availability of new psychoactive substances globally.
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2014 noted that at least 450 such substances were identified in 2014, up from 126 in 2009.
Although there is currently only a small number of abusers of such substances arrested in Singapore, the move was a pre-emptive step, said CNB.
It can subject new abusers to supervision, commit them to a drug rehabilitation centre for treatment and rehabilitation, or charge them in court.