Private companies join war on drugs
CNB forms anti-drug coalition while screening is ramped up for servicemen
The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has ramped up the war on drugs by forming a coalition with 47 organisations to spread the anti-drug message.
The organisations, which include government agencies, private companies, associations and education institutions, are grouped under the United Against Drugs Coalition.
Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin, who launched the coalition at the CNB's workplan seminar yesterday, said it was important to bring together the different organisations to support the drug-free cause.
"We hope more organisations like them will join us to promote this anti-drug cause. We are in this together," he said.
Meanwhile, drug screening exercises will be conducted for all recruits and cadets entering the military, while those found abusing substances will face stern disciplinary action, The Straits Times reported.
If caught, these servicemen will also undergo supervision and treatment programmes as part of rehabilitation, said the Ministry of Defence.
A spokesman told ST that the Singapore Armed Forces, which conducts regular drug screening on its servicemen to deter and detect drug abusers, has recently stepped up urine screening in its units to increase detection efforts.
Separately, a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman said in response to ST's queries that mandatory surprise screenings are conducted for all full-time national servicemen in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
"In addition, random urine testing is conducted for SPF and SCDF NSmen during their in-camp training," the spokesman added.
The coalition, an initiative by the CNB and the National Council Against Drug Abuse, includes public agencies such as the Health Promotion Board, Institute of Mental Health and National Library Board.
Among the 10 private organisations are F&B establishments such as KFC, Gong Cha, Pastamania, Clarke Quay and Fat Papas as well as SingPost and online retailer Reebonz.
SingPost's vice-president of corporate sustainability, Ms Selena Chong, said: "The popularity of e-commerce means larger numbers of parcels are now moving across borders through mail and parcel delivery systems.
"We are committed to be vigilant in our inspection and screening processes to detect concealed narcotics and also collaborate with CNB as part of the coalition."
Other coalition members, such as the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, expect more information sharing and a wider outreach in drug prevention. Its executive director, Mr Abdul Karim, said CNB does this regularly, which means coalition members can be aware of changes and the need to constantly review their prevention strategies.
He also said the authorities are revamping the social media outreach to better resonate with youth and engage with them more effectively.
Nearly two-thirds of new drug abusers arrested last year were under the age of 30, and those aged 20 to 29 continued to form the largest group of abusers, according to a CNB report in February.
Mentioning the need to counter the online narrative that some drugs are acceptable, Mr Amrin said: "Many countries are legalising cannabis, trumpeting its medical use or glamorising drug use.
"This is why the CNB's priorities will include ramping up efforts on social media to counter the narrative that drugs are acceptable."
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEOW BEI YI & TAN TAM MEI, THE STRAITS TIMES