Masagos: 'Do not be fooled'
Some drugs such as cannabis are marketed as "safe", "non-addictive" and "less dangerous".
But don't be fooled, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday.
He said: "Those who make these claims seek only to make profits at the expense of healthy individuals and their loved ones."
Founder and executive director of charitable organisation The New Charis Mission, Mr Don Wong, agreed.
Mr Wong, whose organisation runs a halfway house for former offenders at Jalan Ubi near Geylang Serai, said abusers may also be fooled into assuming that cannabis is harmless as it is not illegal in countries like the Netherlands and some states in the US.
He added: "Many drug abusers start with marijuana before moving on to stronger drugs like Ice and heroin. Some movies also show 'cool' characters smoking marijuana.
"Parents and teachers must work together to tell our young that the drug is dangerous. They must also monitor the movies the kids watch and other modes of media that are easily accessible to youngsters nowadays."
Responding to queries from The New Paper, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said it is monitoring global developments of the drug scene and is aware that some jurisdictions have either decriminalised or legalised cannabis.
It added that the National Council Against Drug Abuse's 2013 Youth Perception Survey revealed that older youth tend to hold a more liberal attitude against drugs.
The CNB spokesman said: "Coupled with the pro-cannabis legalisation and decriminalisation developments in some overseas jurisdictions, the concern is that more younger Singaporeans may begin to see cannabis as a soft drug and not as harmful. They cannot be more wrong."