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MHA COS 2019: Keeping Singapore Drug-free; Counter-terrorism Efforts
Securing a drug-free future and working with the community to counter terrorism.

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At the Community of Supply (COS) Debate in Parliament on 1 March 2019, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Amrin Amin affirmed the Home Team’s commitment to keeping Singapore drug-free. 

Mr Amrin’s speech followed the release of the Drug Situation Report 2018 by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on 25 February 2019. The Report showed a worrying trend of drug abuse in Singapore. In 2018, the total number of drug arrests rose by 11%, 40% of which were new offenders.

There’s a greater concern – more young people are abusing drugs. According to Mr Amrin, two-thirds of new abusers arrested last year were under the age of 30. There was also a 30% increase in the number of new youth abusers below the age of 20. 

The growing drug problem isn’t exclusive to Singapore. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) World Drug Report 2018 estimates that more than a quarter of a billion people abuse drugs globally, citing cannabis as the main contributor behind the increase.

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Sharing the anti-drug message with the young: At the launch of CNB's 'Captain Drug Buster Vs Dr Wacko' storybook in December 2018. PHOTOS: CNB

Educating Youths about the Dangers of Drug Abuse
To tackle the drug scourge, Singapore has adopted a multi-pronged approach that starts with Preventive Drug Education, stated Mr Amrin. 

Storybooks, social media campaigns and the establishment of a network of youth Anti-Drug Abuse Advocates are just some of the initiatives that CNB has embarked on to engage youths on the harm of drug abuse. 

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Young ambassadors with a cause: Nur Afiqah Norazmi (top) at the UNODC Youth Forum in Vienna, Austria, in March 2018; Afiqah with other Anti-Drug Abuse Advocates (bottom right), ready to share the anti-drug message. PHOTOS: CNB
 
Since last year, CNB has sent youth representatives to participate in the UNODC Youth Forum in Vienna, Austria. The forum provided an effective platform for the youths to exchange ideas on running effective anti-drug programmes with other global representatives. Over 120 youth Anti-Drug Abuse Advocates, who organise events such as anti-drug roadshows at educational institutions, have also been appointed.  

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Putting youths at the forefront of the anti-drug message. PHOTOS: CNB

Enhancing Our Anti-drug Framework
Ground enforcement, strict legislation and harsh penalties also help to keep our drug situation under control. In 2018, CNB conducted close to 1,600 operations targeting drug traffickers and abusers across Singapore, dismantling 26 drug syndicates in the process. 

Amendments were also made to the Misuse of Drugs Act to further protect children. For example, acts which facilitate or promote drug use, such as exposing a child to drugs or drug paraphernalia, or permitting a young person to abuse drugs, are now illegal.

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Working with the community to ensure a safer and more secure Singapore. PHOTOS: Home Team News

The Community’s Role in Countering Terrorism
In her speech at the COS debate, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Ms Sun Xueling noted the indispensable role played by the community in countering terrorism, especially in the area of radicalisation.

Not only can early reporting prevent potential acts of violence by radicalised individuals, it also gives suspects the best possible chance of being rehabilitated. Such was the case with Mohamed Faishal bin Mohd Razali, who'd told family and friends about his plan to participate in armed violence overseas. They tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him, but he was only stopped when he was reported to the authorities.

Ms Sun also noted the vital role played by the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) in preventing extremist ideologies from taking root. A volunteer group of Islamic scholars and teachers, the RRG conducts counselling and rehabilitation for radicalised individuals. These efforts have also helped to counter extremism within the community.



MHA COS 2019 
- Read the COS Speech delivered by Senior Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin
- Read the COS Speech delivered by Senior Parliamentary Secretary Sun Xueling
- Visit MHA’s COS webpage.

  1. by Muhamad Khair
  2. 04 March 2019
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