Families worse off if drug offenders are breadwinners

SINGAPORE - Clinical psychologist and director of youth services at the Singapore Children's Society Carol Balhetchet agrees with Law Minister K. Shanmugam that family members of drugs offenders are the real victims.

She said that most of these families will face financial problems, especially if the abuser is the main breadwinner.

Said Dr Balhetchet: "In cases like these, if they have children, these kids will have to be cared for by their relatives. Most of the time, these relatives have their own children to feed and it will be very difficult financially for all involved."

She added that that she has also seen cases where the children of drug addicts end up abusing similar substances themselves.

Mr Mohd Yusof Ismail, chief executive of Ain Society - a group that works with troubled youth and dysfunctional families - said, however, that drug offenders are the ones who need more help.

He also suggested that the authorities could review the treatment for drug abusers.

Mr Mohd Yusof said: "They could have initiatives like more counselling for the offenders when he is behind bars and after he has been released.

"There could also be more aftercare support to help former drug addicts pick up the pieces after they have served their jail terms."

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