Tackling the drug abuse problem

There is no such thing as "soft" or "party" drugs in the view of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) The bureau has always maintained its zero tolerance of all substance abuse.

But if attitudes have changed among the young, what then?

The inter-ministry task force on drugs, formed in October last year, will tackle the problem on several fronts.

For one thing, CNB will take a more targeted approach towards young abusers.

Besides post-secondary institutions, CNB will also work with the Ministry of Defence and HomeTeam agencies to reach out to full-time national servicemen.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, said CNB will also work with the Health Sciences Authority to explore hair analysis as a supplementary drug detection tool.

He said: "Hair analysis can be used to detect the presence of illicit drugs and has a longer window of about three months, compared to urine testing which has a detection window of about one week."

Laws will also be toughened and rehabilitation programmes will be restructured to separate first-time abusers from experienced ones.

But new young abusers will also be dealt with separately.

Those found to be in the low-risk group will need to undergo urine testing, compulsory casework and counselling.

Mr Masagos added: "Families of young abusers will also be involved in the programme.

"Strong family support and taking individual responsibility are integral to their rehabilitation and integration."


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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