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Friday, October 7, 2022
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K SHANMUGAM – DRUG USERS WON’T BE IMPRISONED RIGHT AWAY, WILL BE REHABILITATED

Minister of Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam reiterated and explained Singapore’s drug laws and stance when it comes to drug users, following the Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim cannabis scandal.

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Here is what he said

[Equal treatment in law]

Some have asked (on my FB) why Amanda was let off with a warning, and no action was taken against Schooling by CNB, given our tough anti-drug policies.

I have for some years now explained our policies.

We are very tough on drug traffickers and those involved in the drug trade. That includes imposing capital punishment.

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This is in contrast to how we treat pure drug users, who haven’t committed any other offence. Since 2019, our approach is to treat such pure drug users, as persons who really need help. They will not be imprisoned or have a criminal record (even though consumption is an offence). Instead, we take steps to help them rehabilitate – which could include DRC or supervision. This would help them to reintegrate into society more quickly and effectively. (See my Parliamentary Speech in 2019, https://www.mha.gov.sg/…/second-reading-speech-for…/).

All of this applies to persons who are currently found to be taking drugs.

In the cases of Schooling and Amanda, there was no clear evidence that they were currently taking drugs – the evidence was inconclusive. Their urine tests were negative. (They were, however, honest and admitted to having taken drugs in the past.)

Amanda had a drug utensil – and she was warned for that.

Schooling, based on the law, was handed over to MINDEF, since he is a full time NSF. MINDEF decided on the steps to be taken, and has announced what it has decided.

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Our approach: People might have taken drugs, years ago, or months ago. We don’t send people to DRC, or even give warnings, in the absence of current drug-taking / positive test.

But also note: If there is clear evidence of current use of drugs, then CNB will take steps, regardless of whether the consumption took place in Singapore or overseas. So don’t assume that if you consume drugs overseas, you will be let off with a warning.

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