Singapore 'far from immune' to drug threat

The number of drug abusers detected in Singapore decreased last year and they comprise less than 0.1 per cent of the population.

But the nation is far from immune to the threat of drugs, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee told delegates on Monday at the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in Vienna, Austria.

His speech comes after this year's Budget debate in which the Home Affairs Ministry said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) would ramp up its social-media presence to help spread the anti-drug message among young people.

Mr Lee underlined Singapore's commitment to fighting drugs and rallied countries to work hard to meet goals set out in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. He said while openness and connectivity have been a big plus for Singapore, they have also brought challenges such as more open and experimental attitudes among youth towards drugs.

CNB's statistics for last year showed drug abuse was on the rise among young people and the majority of new abusers were below the age of 30.

Mr Lee also shared Singapore's three-pronged "harm-prevention strategy": tailored preventive education; tough laws and effective, swift enforcement; and a structured and evidence-based rehabilitation framework.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore 'far from immune' to drug threat'. Print Edition | Subscribe