Parliament: Friends of MP Intan's son abuse cannabis and offer drug to him

Dr Intan Azura Moktar, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, in a file photo taken in 2015.
Dr Intan Azura Moktar, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, in a file photo taken in 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two of her son's friends are not only abusing drugs - they had even invited her 18-year-old boy to join them in smoking cannabis, said Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC).

He "sensibly declined" the offer, she said in Parliament on Tuesday (April 4).

Dr Intan also revealed how one of her son's polytechnic mates has been smoking cannabis in school and how another friend of his - an ITE student - was caught smoking the drug.

"While he (the ITE student) is undergoing follow-up checks through routine urine tests, he continues to take synthetic weed, which he claims cannot be detected through the urine tests," she said, adding that the drug abusers are quite nonchalant about their habit and seem to think it is no big deal.

Dr Intan was among several MPs who debated in Parliament over a motion tabled by Mr Christopher De Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) to strengthen the fight against drugs in Singapore, as she urged the authorities to do more in schools.

 

"While I must state that these are only two of his many friends who otherwise lead drug-free and healthy lives, I am calling for the CNB (Central Narcotics Bureau) , the police, the Health Promotion Board, and our institutes of higher learning to go all out to stop such drug use and abuse in our educational institutions, even if the numbers are small and seemingly insignificant," she added.

 

Several MPs also warned against an international trend of legalising drug use, with Dr Intan decrying what she labelled as "callous" claims by some pro-cannabis proponents that small amounts of cannabis use is perfectly alright.

 

She said these proponents also claim there are medical conditions such as glaucoma or Parkinson's disease that can be managed through daily doses of cannabis or marijuana.

Said Dr Intan: "We would also need the help of medical professionals and research experts to verify such claims, and more importantly to curb the incorrect perception that small doses of drug use on a daily basis is perfectly fine."

In his speech on Tuesday, Mr De Souza also warned of how cannabis is growing in popularity in Singapore, citing recent figures from the CNB.

He pointed out that the amount of cannabis seized for first six months last year was almost the same amount seized for the whole of 2015. He also said that in 2015, for the first time, cannabis became the second most commonly abused drug in Singapore.

Mr De Souza stressed that cannabis can be a gateway drug to heroin and cocaine, especially among young abusers, and also that using cannabis as rare as once a week may irreversibly lower one's IQ.

"Compared to the general population, there is a four-fold higher risk of mortality among those with cannabis-use disorder," he added.

"So you want to call cannabis soft? To do so is plain foolish."