Published: 26 February 2020
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether there can be more targeted efforts at reducing the number of new drug abusers among our youths; and (b) whether the Ministry can equip VWOs and NGOs that work with at-risk youths with the needed anti-drug knowledge and measures.
1. The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has put in place many preventive drug education (PDE) programmes targeted at youths. CNB also reaches out to youths through persons in positions of influence like parents, counsellors, educators, youth advocates, community leaders and National Service commanders, so that they can also help to advise the youths.
2. A key touchpoint is the school setting. In January 2019, CNB launched a new exhibition for schools, incorporating Augmented Reality (AR), to give students a more immersive experience on the harms of drugs. CNB has reached out to close to 3,000 students so far, and received good feedback.
3. Another initiative launched in August 2019 in collaboration with MOE is the After-School Engagement (ASE) programme, targeted at vulnerable and at-risk students. The ASE programme is an additional platform for students to learn about the harms of drug abuse and its consequences, through activities such as sharing by former drug abusers.
4. Social media is another key platform. CNB regularly publishes on its social media, content about drugs. For example, it has pushed out a series of bite-sized infographics to explain the harmful effects of cannabis and the cost to society of cannabis legalisation, to de-bunk the misinformation surrounding cannabis.
5. CNB also equips staff of community agencies such as MSF’s Boys’ and Girls’ Homes, Youth Centres supported by MSF, self-help groups and Social Service Agencies (SSAs) such as Fei Yue Family Service Centre and Care Corner Singapore Ltd, with knowledge of the tell-tale signs and behavioural changes of abusers. This facilitates the agencies’ work when managing youths under their charge, and enables them to surface potential abusers for early intervention.
6. CNB has also been working with the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA). NCADA will be launching a media campaign in March 2020, built around Singapore’s first interactive film “HIGH” directed by local filmmaker Royston Tan. The purpose of this campaign is to engage youths in conversations around drug abuse and anti-drug advocacy.
7. CNB and NCADA engage community partners and volunteers through the United Against Drugs Coalition (UADC) and Anti-Drug Abuse Advocacy (A3) Network to amplify and strengthen anti-drug narratives. So far, CNB has recruited 162 youth advocates under the A3 Network.
8. Last but not least, MHA and MSF co-chair the National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism (NCPR), which was set up to coordinate efforts in research, rehabilitation, as well as to address offending and re-offending, among at-risk children and youths, offenders and their families.
 The ASE programme is initiated by the MOE to provide school-based integrated support for vulnerable and at-risk students to enhance their learning motivation, strengthen school connectedness and build resilience. The programme could be conducted as modified curriculum during school hours, as well as after-school and holiday programmes.
 The UADC is an anti-drug alliance that rallies support from local organisations to raise awareness of drug abuse in our society through their outreach platforms. The A3 Network unites passionate individuals from different walks of life to educate and empower them to advocate for a drug-free Singapore.