RECENT reports of alleged drug abuse by Singaporeans overseas ("S'porean dies after collapsing at drug-hit Jakarta concert", Tuesday; and "Six dead after drug overdose at KL music fest", Sunday) are reminders that drug abuse is dangerous.
The National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) strongly urges Singaporeans to take a zero-tolerance stance towards drug abuse, even when overseas.
Singapore enjoys a relatively low incidence of drug abuse, thanks to the hard work of our anti-drug enforcement and drug rehabilitation officers. Yet, many countries still struggle to contain the drug menace.
In some countries, "harm reduction" advocates have resisted strong enforcement, saying it causes harm by exposing addicts to health risks, overdose and death through illegally obtaining drugs of unknown purity and using unhygienic instruments. These advocates even lobby for legal use of dangerous drugs, thereby weakening societal anti-drug attitudes. This is not the path for Singapore.
In view of international trends, Singapore must not be complacent. We must continue determined anti-drug enforcement and uphold our zero-tolerance stance towards drug abuse.
The NCADA's 2013 Youth Perception Survey has shown that while our youth view drugs and drug abuse negatively, the older ones are more likely to accept liberal attitudes towards drug abuse. This must be countered.
Singaporeans must be equipped with deep resolve to resist peer pressure and the temptation to abuse drugs, locally or when overseas.
Our survey also found that parents and teachers are strong influences in dissuading young people from experimenting with drugs. Parents and teachers can help by talking to our youth about these tragic incidents overseas, and remind them that drug abuse is harmful and can kill.
We will continue to educate Singaporeans on the dangers of drug abuse, through activities such as the NCADA Clubs Against Drugs Campaign, which targets young adults who frequent nightspots.
While the NCADA extends its condolences to the families of Singaporeans involved in the recent drug abuse incidents, we also urge the media, parents, teachers and community partners to reinforce the message that drugs are addictive, harmful and can kill - no matter where you are.
National Council Against Drug Abuse
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