Published: 19 March 2022
1. A very good morning to all of you. I want to thank Riduan, SANA Peer Counsellor, and also Ustaz Muhassan from Masjid Hang Jebat, for sharing with us very useful and important messages.
2. I think what is key is that we all do our best to provide opportunities for all of us to live in a healthy way, with prosocial groups, and reach our best potential in life.
3. What Riduan shared, is true. Many young people think they will not get addicted. Today, many young people think, “I will just take it once, I can control it.” They think drugs are not harmful. This is what they see portrayed on the Internet and social media. But once they take it, they realise that they are wrong, and many have realised that they are wrong.
4. The message that I want to share with you is that people have been wrong, and I do not want you to make the wrong decision.
5. I also want to thank Masjid Hang Jebat and Ride of Hope SG, for organising this morning’s cycling event for us to share these messages.
6. I would like to add to what has been shared by Riduan. Riduan shared that when someone takes drugs, they cannot recover until their last breath – which is true. When I was with the Ministry of Health, I was very interested in the topic drug addiction, so I asked the doctors who were dealing with this. The doctors shared with me that once you take the first dose of drugs, it actually modifies your brain chemicals, and that modification is permanent. No medicine can cure or change that. So, it is permanent. Essentially, every day for Riduan and the rest of the addicts is a recovery journey, until their last breaths. So, is it easy or difficult? It is difficult. So, do not go there.
7. Today, as I shared earlier, 60 per cent of new drug abusers arrested were below 30 years old. Why are we reaching out to the youths? We want to help you protect them. That includes you, my children, and your children.
8. When I was with the Ministry of Education, I saw young people being influenced into taking drugs by their friends. Friends, maybe two or three of them, will invite another two or three people, to go to somebody’s house or a chalet. From there, in the moment of happiness, they persuade you, friends who may not be addicts, to try drugs. They use peer pressure, say you’re not cool. So, the best thing to do, is to avoid such situations. When you hear of such gatherings, you can go, but you need to be careful. When you hear about your friends getting hooked, you should avoid it, it is not worth it. Never think that you can escape, and that CNB will not catch you.
9. The other trend that we are seeing is that unlike in the past where we see abusers from the lower income families, today, those arrested can come from any segment of society. That is to say that even if you are rich, educated, and doing well in your work, you can be a target for the trafficker, syndicate, and addiction. Each and every one of us, including myself, can be a target. Even more so then, that we need to be concerned about what our siblings and friends are doing. If you know that they are doing drugs, you should seek help and report it, so that we can help you and your friends get early intervention.
10. We do not want you to waste your youth. When you are 20 or 30, those are your golden years, where you are able to do well in your studies, start a new job, get married and have children.
11. The best is to stay away from drugs. And what we are doing today, is to raise awareness through Dadah Itu Haram and support one another to stay away from drugs and lead healthy lives. With prosocial groups like these, you can go cycling, have fun together with your family and friends, and have a goal in your life to achieve the best you can.
12. My sincere thanks to Masjid Hang Jebat, Ride of Hope SG, my colleagues from CNB for organising this event, and all the volunteers. We hold such events so that we can open up pathways for young people to lead better lives in the years ahead. Thank you.
 According to CNB’s 2021 Statistics Release Report issued in February 2022, the proportion of new drug abusers arrested in 2021 who were under 30 years old remained significant at 60%.