Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs how is the Government educating the public on the dangers of the consumption of psychoactive substances since there is some misconception that such drugs are less risky compared to hard drugs.
As the Member pointed out, New Psychoactive Substances, also known as NPS, have been wrongly perceived by some people to be less addictive and less dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth. These drugs are known to have adverse, irreversible physical and psychological effects.
- The Central Narcotics Bureau, CNB, adopts a targeted approach to raise awareness about the harms of drugs. Since 2016, CNB has been driving an online campaign to strengthen the resilience of our youths against drug misinformation. They are provided with facts about the harms of drugs, including NPS, to counter the false information being propagated online that downplays the danger. CNB has enhanced its social media platforms to push out its messages. Many of the anti-drug videos posted online by CNB have been widely viewed. CNB will continue with these social media campaigns to feature bite-sized infographics and youth-centric content.
- To address the increasingly liberal attitudes among youths, the National Council Against Drug Abuse, or NCADA, launched a “Feed Ambition. Fight Temptation” campaign in Oct 2018. Opinion leaders were roped in to engage youths in a mentorship programme, encouraging them to pursue their passion and stay away from drugs.
- Youths are also given the opportunity to take greater ownership in the fight against drugs. In December last year, a new illustrated book “Captain Drug Buster versus Dr Wacko: The Final Showdown” was published. This was a collaboration with young illustrators. The book educates children on the harms of drug abuse, and serves as a resource for parents and educators to start the conversation on drugs with the young ones. We will make copies of the book widely available.
- CNB has also been engaging NS commanders and educators on a sustained basis, to raise their awareness and understanding of Singapore’s drug control policies, as well as to rally their support for anti-drug advocacy.
- A DrugFreeSG Community Roadshow was held in April 2018 to enhance outreach in the heartlands, targeting parents. Two more will be organised in 2019.
- These are just some examples of CNB’s preventive drug education efforts.We have seen encouraging results. We will need to continue countering the increasingly widespread portrayal in the popular media, of drug consumption as being a socially acceptable activity.