New provisions under Misuse of Drugs Act to kick in Aug 1

To better protect children and youths from the harms of drugs, it will be an offence for an adult who has drugs or drug-related utensils to knowingly or recklessly leave them within reach of a child below 16.
To better protect children and youths from the harms of drugs, it will be an offence for an adult who has drugs or drug-related utensils to knowingly or recklessly leave them within reach of a child below 16.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Hooking someone up with a drug trafficker, knowing that a transaction is likely to take place, will be a criminal offence from Thursday (Aug 1).

The new provision under the Misuse of Drugs Act will come into force along with a host of other changes that aim to tackle behaviours that promote or facilitate drug use.

They also aim to better protect children and increase support for drug abusers.

It will also be a crime to teach or give information to another person on how to cultivate, manufacture, consume or traffic controlled drugs, knowing or having reason to believe that the latter intends to carry out these activities.

The Act stipulates maximum imprisonment of ten years for first-time convictions. Repeat offenders face mandatory minimum imprisonment of two years, which can go up to a maximum of ten years.

A day after amendments to the Act were approved in Parliament on Jan 15, another key provision kicked in to direct hardcore drug abusers - those caught for the third time or more - to the drug rehabilitation centre (DRC) instead of long-term imprisonment.

Previously, only first- or second-time abusers were sent to the DRC and those who were caught for the third time or more were given sentences of at least five years' jail and three strokes of the cane.

 
 
 
 

On April 1, the first tranche of provisions under the Act also came into force, with the changes introducing things including mandatory minimum punishments for drug consumption and increased powers for law enforcement.

The second tranche of provisions that take effect in August will also make it a crime to disseminate or publish any information related to drug taking, cultivating, making, and trafficking. This could result in up to five years' jail and a $10,000 fine, for first time convictions. For repeat offenders this would result in mandatory minimum imprisonment of one year, with a maximum of five years.

To better protect children and youths from the harms of drugs, it will be an offence for an adult who has drugs or drug-related utensils to knowingly or recklessly leave them within reach of a child below 16.

It will also be an offence for an adult to allow, or not take reasonable steps to prevent, a person under 21 from taking drugs that are in the adult's possession.

These offences will carry a maximum imprisonment of 10 years for first-time convictions. For repeat offenders there will be a mandatory jail term of at least two years with a maximum of 10 years.

Under the provisions, it will also be compulsory for parents and guardians of young drug abusers who are under supervision orders to attend counselling.

If they do not do so with no reasonable excuse, they could face a fine of up to $5,000 or be ordered by the court to attend the sessions.

The changes will also increase the maximum periods of detention that can be served at the DRC from three years to four, to cater to high-risk repeat drug abusers who may require longer periods of rehabilitation.

The maximum supervision periods that abusers can undergo after their release will also be extended from two years to five, to ensure that they received sustained support during their reintegration into society.

Under the provisions, it will also be possible for drug abusers, who test positive for drugs based on results of hair analysis, to be subject to mandatory rehabilitation and supervision on instruction of the director of the Central Narcotics Bureau.

Hair analysis was introduced in 2012 as it can detect drug use over a longer time span than urine tests, which can only detect drugs consumed within the preceding week.