Channel NewsAsia

No such thing as a 'soft drug': Masagos Zulkifli

The global drug situation makes the fight against drugs that much more challenging for Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau, says Senior Minister of State for Home and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

SINGAPORE: Increasing adoption of "safe" and "soft" drugs like cannabis and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) globally means Singapore has "much work to do" to keep drugs off its streets, said Senior Minister of State for Home and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday (Aug 14).

Commenting on the Central Narcotics Bureau's half-year statistics, Mr Masagos said while there has been a decrease in the numbers of overall and new drug abusers arrested in Singapore in the first half of 2014, the global drug situation "remains challenging".

For instance, New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), which are chemically modified substances that mimic the effects of controlled drugs, are starting to flood the market globally. "They are touted as safe and legal to use, yet there have already been reports of deaths in the overseas media arising from their use," Mr Masagos said.

The legalisation of cannabis in some jurisdictions reinforces the impression that these drugs are less dangerous, but these are "gross misunderstandings", he added.

"There are is no such thing as a soft drug. One cannot experiment with drugs and not expect to get hooked. Already, young drug abusers below the age of 30 tend to abuse drugs such as methamphetamine and cannabis, which they wrongly perceived to be less addictive," the minister said.

He reiterated that Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance policy against drugs, and CNB will continue its fight against drugs through intensive enforcement efforts, close collaborations with regional and community partners and targeted preventive education.

"We also urge parents, families and the community to play their part in the fight against drugs. However, the individual is ultimately responsible for his actions, and if he breaks the law, he will have to face the consequences," said Mr Masagos.