Singapore studying best practices overseas, building anti-drug coalition

Singapore is studying efforts by Finland and Iceland in getting their youth away from drugs, and in shaping and presenting messages in ways they find acceptable and accessible, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

He also said the Government has been “taking an active profile internationally” and creating a “coalition of countries… which take the view that each country should decide on its drug laws”, as Singapore seeks to fend off international pressure to decriminalise drugs.

Mr Shanmugam was outlining in a recent interview how Singapore adopts best practices and avoids bad practices from other countries in its fight against drugs, as latest data showed new worrying trends.

Close to two-thirds of the 1,347 new drug abusers arrested last year were aged below 30, according to Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) numbers. The number of people arrested for buying drugs and drug- related paraphernalia online rose from 30 in 2015 to 201 last year – more than a six-fold increase.

These are major areas of concern in Singapore’s fight against narcotics, said Mr Shanmugam, adding that as generations change, it needs to keep the anti-drug message attractive, accessible and relevant.

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