SINGAPORE – Singapore’s comprehensive strategy against drug abuse has been successful in keeping the drug situation here under control, said Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo.
Speaking virtually at the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), Mrs Teo said Singapore’s strategy is underpinned by strong community partnerships and public support.
“Our strategy aims to reduce both drug supply and demand through upstream preventive education, strict laws and rigorous enforcement, and effective rehabilitation,” she said.
Mrs Teo, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, led the Singapore delegation at the hybrid event held in Vienna, Austria, from March 14 to 18.
Recent surveys conducted by the Central Narcotics Bureau showed that the majority of Singapore youth – around 80 per cent – are aware of the harms of drugs and support the Government’s zero-tolerance stance against drugs, she said.
The number of abusers arrested each year has halved from more than 6,000 in the 1990s to around 3,000 today, she noted. The two-year recidivism rate for drug abusers released from drug rehabilitation centres has also reduced significantly – from 67 per cent in 1996 to 25 per cent for the 2019 release cohort, she added.
The CND is the main policymaking body of the UN for drug matters. It is responsible for monitoring the world drug situation, developing evidence-based drug control strategies and recommending measures to address the global drug problem.
The hybrid event in Vienna had about 1,400 participants from 128 countries. They discussed emerging drug control issues and the implementation of international drug policy commitments.
In her speech outlining Singapore’s multipronged drug strategy, Mrs Teo said that the world’s drug problem remains a persistent challenge, and this requires governments to step up domestic and international efforts.
She also sought CND members’ support for the Republic’s bid for CND membership for the term 2024 to 2027.
“We are committed to contributing more towards developing evidence-informed and effective global drug control policies. We are also committed to supporting capacity-building efforts and sharing research findings on drug trend,” she said.
Mrs Teo had announced Singapore’s intention to run for membership at the previous CND session in April last year.