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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Daily Lessons from Life 04 April 2017 - Singapore to make fight against drugs a 'national priority': Shanmugam

Condolences to the family and friends of the 14 killed in St Petersburg suicide bombing. RIP to the dead.

"SINGAPORE: Singapore will maintain a tough stance and step up efforts in its fight against drugs, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam, capping off a marathon session of Parliament that ended close to 10pm on Tuesday (Apr 3).

It will also review its strategy for new challenges and make it targeted, he stated in a speech that lasted over an hour. “We will differentiate between those who supply and cause harm versus those who are abusers and, where possible, we will employ data based, science-based approach."
In responding to a Private Member’s Motion filed by MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Christopher de Souza, Mr Shanmugam said the motion is a “timely call” for Singapore to remain vigilant in the fight against drugs, step up its efforts and make it a “national priority”.
Mr Shanmugam pointed out new local challenges and new trends that have emerged.  
One major challenge, he said, is the increased supply of drugs. Mr Shanmugam noted that Singapore is near the Golden Triangle, which is the second-largest opium source in the world. Singapore is also a major transport hub, and vulnerable to drug syndicates, he said.
Another major challenge Mr Shanmugam highlighted is the peddling of drugs online. “You can have anonymous transactions, you can have parcels coming in from any part in the world ... that creates a challenge,” he said. “We also face a challenge from new drugs ... new psychoactive substances, where people take drugs and mix them with contaminants to lower the cost.”
Quoting figures from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), he said more than 3.5 kg and 4,000 tablets of new psychoactive substances have been seized in the past two years. These have been falsely marketed as legal and safe, he added.
Some youths also think that drugs are "cool", he noted. “There is a certain perception glamourised through media outside this country, that drugs are cool and cannabis is non-addictive. And if we are not careful, they can become our next generation of abusers,” the minister said.
He also observed that a new group of Singaporeans are trying drugs, where last year, 40 per cent of those arrested for abuse in Singapore were less than 30 years old. “They are students, professionals, people who are well-educated, with good jobs,” he said.
“Parents may think it is not their children, but in the past three years, we have picked up more than 350 students, from all levels, from primary school to tertiary, and from all backgrounds ... with as well as without a substance abuse in the family.
He also highlighted another “worrying statistic” - that 83 per cent of those in Singapore’s prisons are in there either for substance abuse, or have a history of substance abuse. This is even though the particular crime they committed is not related to drugs.
“You can see how much drugs can impact on lives,” he said. “It destroys you. These are all statistics, facts.”"
Indeed a surprising development given that drug taking is no longer cool with my generation of people. My generation meaning my neighbourhood where quite a few of my 'friends' were doing weeds and other stuffs then.
Recreation drug sounds sexy though once hooked, users almost without exception will move on to stronger and stronger drugs that likely will lead to ultimate destruction of normal life and possibly death through overdose.
S'pore illegal drugs law is already very very strict. Yet, many people are still trying their luck to sell them as the profit is simply too tempting for them to risk the death sentence should they get caught. In this case, the law really needs not be too merciful if these offenders/illegal drug sellers insist and persist to dabble in selling them. Nobody needs to be apologising for this and those 'against death sentence because it is inhumane' activists need to be fair and accepting when their request to abolish death sentence for such offences is turned down.
As for the drug users, repeat offenders will pose the most difficulty as going the Philippines's way is unlikely to be accepted in S'pore. Maybe the supporting family and friends of such repeat drug offenders just have to carry the burden for a lifetime IF the drug users simply refuse to kick the habits and has no money to buy them!

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