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Monday, October 3, 2022
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SAF ALLOWS SERVICEMEN TO CONFESS ONCE TO TAKING ILLEGAL DRUGS WITHOUT PUNISHMENT

Singapore Minister of Defence said in Parliament that the Singapore Armed Forces allowed their servicement to confess to using illegal drugs without punishments, and they will be counselled and rehabilitated instead under the SAF Amnesty Scheme.

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Ng Eng Hen’s Statement

The SAF maintains a policy that is aligned to our national policy of zero tolerance against illegal drug use. The key planks of implementation are prevention and strict enforcement against illegal drug users through testing, appropriate punishment and rehabilitation. Both planks are necessary to ensure a drug free culture within the SAF.

Prevention of illegal drug use is achieved through education and encouraging those who have consumed illegal drugs to seek help to stop or treat their addiction. All recruits attend talks conducted by the SAF Counselling Centre (SCC) during their Basic Military Training (BMT) on the harmful effects of drugs. After BMT, anti-drug talks are conducted periodically by the SCC and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) at SAF camps and units. Before overseas exercises or postings, SAF personnel are briefed on and sternly reminded of the consequences for taking drugs overseas.

To avoid the harsh penalties of illegal drug use, those who have consumed illegal drugs can choose to confess without being punished under the SAF Amnesty Scheme. Instead, these personnel will receive counselling and rehabilitation support to help them kick their habit and undergo regular testing. This scheme is only available to SAF soldiers once, after which normal penalties will apply for drug offences.

To monitor for illegal drug use, urine tests are conducted across the SAF extensively. All enlistees undergo these urine tests during their BMT. UT are also conducted without notice in units, overseas bases and training locations, as well as on returning service personnel The SAF Military Police also conducts routine spot checks to ensure that illegal products, including controlled drugs, are not brought into SAF premises. The CNB also informs the SAF Military Police Command when SAF Personnel are arrested for drug offences.

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Enforcement against SAF soldiers who are illegal drug users is strict for deterrence. Any servicemen or women who test positive during urine screening will be charged. They are typically sentenced by the military courts to a minimum of 8 to 9 months detention in the SAF Detention Barracks. Known or suspected illegal drug users who have self-confessed or had recent drug convictions, will be put on the Urine Test Regime (UTR) and drug counselling sessions, during which they will be screened up to three times a week for a period of up to six months. If they test positive during the period, they will be investigated for drug offences and potentially charged in court martial. This serves as both a deterrence and a form of rehabilitation to help them stay away from drugs.

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