SINGAPORE: A total of 24 new psychoactive substances (NPS) will be listed as Class A controlled drugs from December.
The 24 drugs will be listed in the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said in a news release on Friday (Nov 29).
Following the listing, the trafficking, manufacture, import, export, possession or consumption of these substances will constitute an offence under the MDA.
Any person found guilty of trafficking Class A controlled drugs will face a minimum of five years’ imprisonment and five strokes of the cane. They will also be liable for enhanced penalties if they re-offend or sell to young or vulnerable persons, said CNB.
"CNB will also be empowered to subject NPS abusers to supervision, commit them to a drug rehabilitation centre for treatment and rehabilitation, or charge them in court."
In addition, six NPS have been listed in the Fifth Schedule of the MDA. This means that CNB will be allowed to seize them so that their circulation can be restricted while research and industry consultation are conducted.
The Fifth Schedule of the MDA was first enacted on May 1, 2013 to allow CNB to control and prevent the proliferation of NPS.
NPS can be temporarily listed in the Fifth Schedule for up to 12 months, with a possibility of extension for another 12 months.
The trafficking, manufacture, import, export, possession or consumption of any substance, which is temporarily listed in the Fifth Schedule, will not constitute an offence under the MDA, until that substance is listed as a controlled drug in the First Schedule.
These processes are necessary before a substance is classified as a controlled drug, CNB said.
The full list of new psychoactive substances can be found on CNB's website.
According to the CNB, there has been an increase in the number, type and availability of NPS across the globe. A report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in June 2019 identified at least 892 NPS at end 2018.
"Many of these NPS have been reported in overseas journals to have no licit medical use. Their abuse has been linked to adverse physical and psychological reactions, including paranoia, seizures, hallucinations and even death," said CNB.