Published: 07 May 2015
Special Guest Mr Jackie Chan,
Mr Chan Lee Mun, Principal and CEO of Nanyang Polytechnic,
Mr Ng Ser Song, Director, Central Narcotics Bureau,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Launch of Anti-drug Mobile Game Application
1. It is my pleasure to join you today to launch a new preventive drug education (PDE) mobile game application in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). The launch at NYP has special significance because the new mobile game, named 'Aversion', is developed by students from NYP's School of Interactive and Digital Media.
2. This game is based on the concept of complete drug avoidance. In this game, players aim to avoid contact with drugs and various obstacles. Along the way, they learn of the harm that different drugs can cause. The message is clear - to advance in life, avoid drugs at all times. Always say no to drugs.
Drugs are not only Addictive, they are also Harmful
3. Preventive Drug Education is our first line of defence in the war against drugs. We must build awareness and inform youths about the dangers of drugs, so that they can make the right choices to live a full life.
4. We are concerned about the growing numbers of youth drug abusers. Over the last ten years, the number of arrested drug abusers below the age of 20, has increased by more than 10% per annum. CNB has also recently detected clusters of young drug abusers who abused drugs with friends they met in school or in their neighbourhood. Most youth abusers abuse methamphetamine (or "Ice"), cannabis or New Psychoactive Substances (or NPS). They are willing to experiment with these drugs because they think that it is not addictive and less harmful than "traditional" drugs like heroin.
5. These wrong ideas have arisen because of wrong facts put out on social media. These misperceptions are dangerous. Drugs such as Ice, cannabis, or NPS are not only addictive, they can also damage the brain, liver, kidney and other neurological functions.
6. Many of you would have read that some states in the US have decriminalised drug possession and even legalised cannabis consumption.
There are many stories of how these drugs have caused serious harm. Just last month, in April, it was reported in Colorado, US that a 19-year old teenager had started to act strangely and jumped out of a third-storey window without hesitation, after his mother had fed him a cannabis-laced cookie. Before that, in March, a 22-year old man also in Colorado shot himself dead after witnesses saw him eating a large amount of cannabis candies. Due to legalisation, cannabis has taken on seemingly innocuous forms in the US. This has led to fatal consequences. Do not be mistaken – cannabis is harmful and can be deadly. I urge you to continue to 'say no to drugs', in whatever form or package, whether in Singapore or overseas. The consequences are not worth it as you will be harming yourself, causing heart ache to your family and running afoul of the law in Singapore, even if you consume these substances overseas.
We all have a Part to Play
7. We all have a part to play in the fight against drugs. Everyone has a responsibility to spread the anti-drug message. We do not want to see lives lost to drugs and families broken up as a result of drugs. The Government will persist in our efforts to reach out to all stakeholders – students, parents and teachers – to encourage everyone to play a more active role in PDE efforts.
8. This new mobile game is a clear step in this direction. It has been created by youths, for youths. NYP students were involved in every process of game development, from conceptualisation to publication. They are in the best position to design a game which can engage and educate their peers. I thank NYP's active support for the anti-drug cause and their joint collaboration with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). I hope that all NYP students will help us spread the anti-drug message to your friends and families.
Introduction of Mr Jackie Chan as Singapore's Anti-drug Ambassador
9. It also gives me great pleasure to announce Singapore's first-ever celebrity anti-drug ambassador, international superstar, Mr Jackie Chan. Some of you may know that he has also been China's anti-drug ambassador since 2009. Jackie Chan has lent his star power to many other worthwhile causes such as wildlife conservation, animal abuse, and child trafficking.
10. Despite his very busy work schedule, Jackie devotes a tremendous amount of time and effort to philanthropic causes. When I first met him and asked him to lend his support to Singapore's anti-drug efforts, he agreed without any hesitation.
11. I hope that he can inspire our youths to always say no to drugs. I also hope his presence inspires and reminds all of us that we each have the power to speak up and say no to drugs.
12. Ladies and Gentlemen, Singapore has managed to keep the drug situation under control and save Singaporeans from the harm of drug abuse. We are able to do so, not just because of our tough laws and effective enforcement, but also because we have a community that is willing and able to help us in this fight against drugs. Let us continue to keep our streets and youths safe from drugs.
13. I wish you a pleasant afternoon ahead. Thank you.