SINGAPORE - Three drugs will be added to the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) with effect from Monday (March 25), making their trafficking, manufacture, import, export, possession or consumption illegal.
The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said on Friday that one of the drugs is classified as a new psychoactive substance (NPS), while the other two are NPS metabolites.
NPS refer to substances which produce similar effects as 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 February report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime-Synthetics Monitoring Analyses, Reporting and Trends (UNODC-Smart) Programme, which stated that from 2009 up to December 2018, a total of 892 different substances were detected and reported to the UNODC.
The three 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 re-offend or sell the drugs to young or vulnerable people.
CNB will also be empowered to subject NPS abusers to supervision, commit them to a drug rehabilitation centre for treatment and rehabilitation, or charge them in court.
CNB said that the listing of the new drugs to the first schedule will allow it to take decisive action against the abuse and trafficking of such substances.
Separately, CNB also announced the arrest of 88 drug offenders in a four day-long islandwide operation.
The blitz, which started on the morning of March 18 and ended on Friday morning, was supported by the Singapore Police Force.
Some of the areas covered during the operation included Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah, Chai Chee, Eunos, Sembawang, Tampines and Yishun.
Around $74,000 worth of drugs, which included about 428g of Ice, 230g of heroin, 138g of NPS, 61g of cannabis, 29g of ketamine, 180 Erimin-5 tablets, 107 Ecstasy tablets, 60ml of methadone and four bottles of liquid suspected to contain Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, were seized.
The drug activities of all the arrested people are being investigated.