SINGAPORE - A growing number of young people are displaying more liberal attitudes towards drugs, a survey has found.
While a majority of them still hold negative views towards drugs, there has been an increase in liberal attitudes, up from 11 per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent in 2016 for those aged 13 to 21 years.
On Thursday (April 27), the National Council Against Drugs (NCADA) released the Youth and Public Perception Survey 2015/2016 that polled 2,748 youth aged 13 to 30 and 1,212 members of public aged 31 to 60.
The survey, which was last conducted in 2013, was expanded to include older youth and adults to get a wider range of responses. It previously surveyed youth 13 to 21 years only.
The survey results come after Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) statistics showed that last year, drug abuse was on the rise among young people and the majority of new abusers were below 30 years old.
The Youth Perception Survey also revealed that 58 per cent of young people said they learnt about drug-related content via social media.
About a third did not perceive cannabis as addictive. There was also a significant increase in the proportion of young people who perceived cannabis as a popular drug of abuse, with numbers standing at 35 per cent, up from 17 per cent in 2013.
Overall, respondents for the Public Perception Survey had strong support for Singapore's drug-free approach and laws, with 81 per cent showing negative views towards drugs.
The survey also showed that parental influence was found to be effective against drug abuse. Nine in 10 students aged 13 to 18 who had conversations with parents were deterred from drugs. However only half of them said they have had such conversations.
To help parents broach this topic, CNB launched a new parents' handbook on Thursday which is available online.
Said NCADA chairman Hawazi Daipi: "While many parents may understand the importance of staying drug-free, it may not be a priority for them to talk to their children about this."
He added: "We hope the survey results serve as a timely reminder for parents to speak to their children about this important issue."