Drug abusers: Rehab v long-term imprisonment

Inmates engaging in interactive indoor recreational activities at the Changi Prison Complex. The changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act send a signal that rehabilitation, rather than punishment, is the way to tackle the problem of drug abusers.
Inmates engaging in interactive indoor recreational activities at the Changi Prison Complex. The changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act send a signal that rehabilitation, rather than punishment, is the way to tackle the problem of drug abusers.PHOTO: ST FILE

After 20 years of tackling hardcore drug abuse with long-term imprisonment, the Government has changed its approach with a bigger focus on rehabilitation. Insight looks at why this is happening now.

The man who was deputy director of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in the early years of the 1990s, Mr Masbollah Fazal, recalls that his agency took a two-pronged strategy to tackling drug misuse.

That was: To hit drug syndicates hard by arresting masterminds and working down the chain to detain traffickers; and to arrest addicts and send them to drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs).

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