Experts laud shift in amended Misuse of Drugs Act but worry about potential loopholes

Inmates taking classes at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre. Experts approve of the new rule that gives lighter sentences to drug abusers who surrender. Inmates playing sports in the yard at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Upper Changi Road North. One
Inmates playing sports in the yard at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Upper Changi Road North. One concern raised was whether reformed abusers could see their resolve sway when coming into contact with unrepentant drug abusers at testing centres.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Inmates taking classes at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre. Experts approve of the new rule that gives lighter sentences to drug abusers who surrender. Inmates playing sports in the yard at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Upper Changi Road North. One
Inmates taking classes at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre. Experts approve of the new rule that gives lighter sentences to drug abusers who surrender.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The amended Misuse of Drugs Act that Parliament passed on Tuesday has been applauded by rehabilitation experts for its shift towards rehabilitation of drug addicts, though some wondered if there were loopholes that could increase the chances of a relapse.

Experts highlighted how the new law distinguishes between repentant drug abusers who only consume drugs and admit to it, and recalcitrant drug abusers who deny their habits or have other criminal charges.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2019, with the headline 'Experts laud shift but worry about potential loopholes'. Print Edition | Subscribe