Published: 26 June 2015
The Task Force on Youths and Drugs (TFYD), chaired by Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, and Minister of State for Education, Ms Sim Ann, was convened in November 2014. The Task Force has completed its review and its recommendations cover the following areas: targeted prevention, upstream intervention for young abusers and engaging the community.
2. The TFYD's recommendations build upon the work of the previous 2011/2012 Taskforce on Drugs (TFD). There were several recommendations in the earlier Taskforce which addressed the rising trend of young persons arrested for drugs, namely, enhancing preventive drug education at the post-secondary level, inclusion of casework and counselling in the Direct Supervision regime for young abusers, establishment of the Community Rehabilitation Centre (CRC) for first time young drug abusers and stiffer punishments for those who traffic drugs to young persons.
3. The drug situation since the last review remains under control, with the total number of drug abusers arrested declining from 3,326 in 2011 to 3,158 in 2014.
4. However, there are several recent developments that are of concern:
5. The TFYD's recommendations focus on developing more targeted strategies to address youth drug abuse in the following areas:
a. Targeted Prevention;
b. Upstream Intervention for young abusers; and
c. Engaging the Community.
6. The Task Force recommends targeted preventive drug education at the post-secondary level to enhance the effectiveness of our anti-drug messages and to better engage youths in the fight against drugs. There should be more active use of online platforms and social media to reach out to young people.
7. Parents, educators, counsellors and NS commanders have an important role to play in engaging youths and keeping them away from drugs. The Task Force recommends that enhanced resource toolkits be developed for parents, educators and counsellors and adapted for NS commanders. These toolkits will contain information on commonly abused drugs, how to detect signs of drug abuse, how to help young people stay away from drugs and helplines to call if they suspect a young person is abusing drugs.
8. The Task Force also recommends expanding the range of differentiated and targeted rehabilitation programmes for youth drug abusers, by introducing a rehabilitation programme with NAMS (the National Addictions Management Service). The programme will equip youths with skills to cope with addictions and will involve their parents to provide support and supervision for their children.
9. The Task Force recommends that an "Anti-drug Abuse Advocacy" Network be established to grow a community of advocates against drug abuse. This will be the platform for families and various communities to spread the message of our zero-tolerance against drugs.
10. Minister of State for Education, Ms Sim Ann, said, "Parents and schools are important partners in our efforts to protect the young against drugs. With their support, we will do all we can to reach out to the youths and help them understand that drugs are addictive and harmful, and that there are no 'soft' drugs."
11. Summing up the recommendations of the Task Force, Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, said in his speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival 2015:
"Our firm zero-tolerance stance and comprehensive approach to tackling drugs have worked well for us. We have kept our streets free from drugs, and our children safe from drugs."
"All of us have a part to play in this effort – parents, educators, and most importantly, our youths themselves. Together, let us work as one community to win the fight against drugs, and work towards a drug-free Singapore."
Ministry of Home Affairs
26 June 2015
Annex A Terms of Reference and Task Force Members
Annex B Factsheet on TF Recommendations
Annex C Executive summary for TF Research Study
Annex D Rehabilitation Programmes For Youth Drug Abusers