SINGAPORE - Five new psychoactive substances will be reclassified as Class A controlled drugs from May 1, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said.
This means that trafficking, possessing or consuming these substances will become an offence and attract heavier punishments.
In a statement on Tuesday (April 30), CNB named the five drugs: Adamantyl CHMINACA or SGT-37; 3,4-DCMP; 5-Fluoro-cumyl-PICA; 5-Fluoro-SDB-005; and SDB-005.
New psychoactive substances are substances that produce the same or similar effects as controlled drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine or heroin.
These five substances will be moved up from the fifth schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Acts to the first schedule of the same Act.
CNB said that it will also be listing another substance - lisdexamphetamine - in the first schedule as a Class A controlled drug.
Anyone found guilty of trafficking Class A controlled drugs will face a minimum of five years' imprisonment and five strokes of the cane.
Offenders will also be liable for enhanced penalties if they reoffend or sell the drugs to young or vulnerable persons.
Besides charging them in court, CNB will also have the power to put these drug abusers under supervision, or in a drug rehabilitation centre for treatment and rehabilitation.
CNB said that reclassifying these drugs will allow the agency to take decisive action against the abuse and trafficking of such substances.
The fifth schedule of the Act was enacted on May 1, 2013, to allow CNB to control the proliferation of new psychoactive substances.
These substances can be temporarily listed in the fifth schedule for up to a year, with a possible extension of another year.
This allows CNB to seize them and restrict their circulation, and also enable the bureau to carry out research and industry consultation on these substances, which are necessary processes before a substance can be classified as a controlled drug.
In its statement, CNB also said that two new psychoactive substances will be put on the fifth schedule of the Act from May 1.
These two substances are 5-Fluoro-cumyl-PEGACLONE and SGT-151.
In its take on the situation for new psychoactive substances worldwide, CNB noted that there has been a rapid increase in the number, type and availability of these substances.
CNB cited a March report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which said that there were at least 899 new psychoactive substances reported from 2008 to March.
CNB said that according to overseas journals, many of these drugs are not forbidden and are permissible for use.
However, CNB added that "their abuse has been linked to adverse physical and psychological reactions, including paranoia, seizures, hallucinations and even death".
It said that it is monitoring the emergence of new psychoactive substances in the global drug scene and will take steps to control newly emerging substances under the Act.