Aiding others to take drugs 'an offence'
This is among several changes to Misuse of Drugs Act, which will also increase protection for children and support for abusers
Hooking someone up with a drug trafficker, knowing that a transaction is likely to take place, will be a criminal offence from today.
The new provision under the Misuse of Drugs Act will kick in along with a host of other changes that aim to tackle behaviours that promote or facilitate drug use. They will also increase protection for children and support for drug abusers.
It will be a crime to teach or give information to another person on how to cultivate, manufacture, consume or traffic controlled drugs, having reason to believe that the latter intends to carry out these activities.
This offence will carry with it a maximum jail term of 10 years for first-time offenders.
Repeat offenders will be given at least two years' jail that can go up to 10 years.
A day after amendments to the Act were approved on Jan 15, another key provision came into force that directs hardcore drug abusers - those caught for the third time or more - to the drug rehabilitation centre (DRC) instead of long-term imprisonment.
Previously, only first- or second-time abusers were sent to the DRC and those who were caught for the third time or more were given sentences of at least five years' jail and three strokes of the cane.
On April 1, the first tranche of provisions under the Act came into force, introducing mandatory minimum punishments for drug consumption and increased powers for law enforcement.
The second tranche of provisions will make it a crime to disseminate or publish any information related to drug-taking, cultivating, making and trafficking. This could result in up to five years' jail and a $10,000 fine, for first-time offenders.
To better protect children and youths from the harms of drugs, it will be criminal for an adult who has drugs or drug- related utensils to knowingly or recklessly leave them within reach of a child below 16.
It will also be an offence for an adult to allow, or not take reasonable steps to prevent, a person under 21 from taking drugs that are in the adult's possession.
These offences carry a maximum jail term of 10 years for first-time convictions. For repeat offenders, there will be a mandatory jail term of at least two years with a maximum of 10 years.
It will also be compulsory for parents and guardians of young drug abusers who are under supervision orders to attend counselling. If they do not do so with no reasonable excuse, they could face a fine of up to $5,000 or be ordered by the court to attend the sessions.
The maximum supervision periods that abusers can undergo after release will also be extended from two years to five, to ensure that they received sustained support during their reintegration into society.