Drug abusers: Rehab v long-term imprisonment

Why focus on rehab is the way ahead

Changes to the law make distinction between addiction as an illness and as a crime, say experts, adding that long jail terms are not effective deterrent

Inmates in the drug rehabilitation centre within Changi Prison Complex. Under changes to the law, the maximum length of DRC will be increased to four years, up from three years.
Inmates in the drug rehabilitation centre within Changi Prison Complex. Under changes to the law, the maximum length of DRC will be increased to four years, up from three years.ST FILE PHOTO

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.

But a balance must be struck between viewing drug abuse as an illness and as a crime, say experts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 03, 2019, with the headline 'Why focus on rehab is the way ahead'. Subscribe