From 1 August 2007, first and second-time abusers of cannabis and cocaine will undergo a rehabilitation regime in Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs). Recalcitrant abusers who are arrested for the third time or more for consumption of these drugs will face a Long-Term (LT) imprisonment regime. This is similar to the current approach taken for abusers of opiates, buprenorphine and synthetic drugs.
2. The aim of the treatment and rehabilitation regime is to give first and second time abusers a chance at rehabilitation without the stigmatisation of a criminal record.
3. The rehabilitation regime was, in the past, available only for opiate abusers as they formed the overwhelming majority of abusers arrested. Following the extension of DRC rehabilitation component and the Long-Term imprisonment regime to synthetic drug abusers in July 2005, the Government has decided to include cannabis and cocaine, the remaining two more commonly abused drugs in Singapore, as part of the gradual process to include all drugs under the DRC rehabilitation and Long-Term imprisonment regime. With the extension, the rehabilitation regime will cover all the current commonly abused drugs in Singapore.
4. The treatment regime for cocaine and cannabis abusers will be similar to the current regime for drug abusers which takes into account the individual abuser’s needs, addiction severity and readiness for change and treatment. All abusers will be put through a thorough classification and assessment process. The treatment programmes focus on teaching abusers how to overcome addiction behaviours. The key components of the regime include motivation to change, skills training, family-based programmes and religious counselling.
Long-Term Imprisonment Regime
5. While a rehabilitative approach is taken for first-time and second-time abusers, there is also a need to punish recalcitrant abusers for persisting with their drug-taking habits and to deter potential drug abusers from falling into the drug trap.
6. Recalcitrant abusers with two previous records for consumption of cannabis or cocaine or that of opiates, synthetic drugs or buprenorphine who are arrested again for the consumption of any of these drugs would be liable for long term imprisonment under the Long Term (LT) Imprisonment Regime, if convicted.
7. Under the LT imprisonment regime, third-time abusers will be liable for Long Term Imprisonment 1 (LT1), and could face a minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and 3 strokes of the cane and a maximum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment and 6 strokes of the cane if convicted. Those who relapse upon their release from LT1 will be sentenced to a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of 13 years’ imprisonment, as well as a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 strokes of the cane under LT2.
8. With this new approach, all abusers will be subjected to the same regime regardless of whether they abuse opiates, buprenorphine, synthetic drugs, cannabis or cocaine.
9. The extension of the rehabilitation programme and long term imprisonment regime to cannabis and cocaine abusers is part of our comprehensive and multi-pronged strategy to deal with the drug problem, which also include proactive preventive drug education, strict laws and vigorous enforcement. We will continue with this multi-pronged strategy in ensuring that the drug situation in Singapore remains well under control.
Central Narcotics Bureau.