SINGAPORE - Preventive drug education is Singapore's "first line of defence", said Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo at a United Nations narcotics commission in Vienna, Austria, on Monday (March 12).
In a national statement reiterating Singapore's three-pillar approach to a drug-free nation at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), Mrs Teo outlined Singapore's policies of targeted prevention, robust enforcement and evidence- based rehabilitation for a drug-free nation.
She added that preventive drug education - the first pillar - does not merely include anti-drug talks and activities in schools, workplaces, and community events. Youth outreach is important as well.
She said: "We use social media and involve youths in anti-drug advocacy targeted at their peers."
In line with her remarks, she introduced Ms Nur Afikah Norazmi, 18, present at the commission as Singapore's first youth representative to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Youth Forum.
The UNODC Youth Forum is an annual forum held in conjunction with the CND that aims to mobilise young people in the fight against drugs. Those selected have a chance to interact with other youth leaders and have a front-row seat to the global policymaking processes.
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East student was an active volunteer as an Anti-Drug Advocate with Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau.
Ms Afikah, who enjoys drawing, had her artwork of a feather selected by the UNODC and presented to the Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Prof Dr Günther A. Granser, on Tuesday.
She said: "I hope to be like a feather, so light and free. Not bound by anything, so I can be what I choose to be."
Mrs Teo also launched an exhibition on Singapore's rehabilitation approach for a drug-free life at the Vienna International Centre. In addition, she met various world leaders as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations to learn about their approaches in fighting drug use and abuse.