The CNB (Central Narcotic Bureau) has announced today that the number of ‘drug abusers’ that they have arrested was inaccurate. Instead of the 5% drop per year which Singapore proudly proclaimed as proof of their tough drug stance working, it appears the opposite is true. Instead of a decline in ‘drug abuser’ arrests it seems that the number of arrests since 2008 has been constantly going up. These statistics seems to contradict Singapore’s assertion that being tough on drugs (with mandatory death sentence) has been effective.
If Singapore truly was winning the ‘war on drugs’ then surely the number of drug users arrested each year would decrease instead of increasing year on year for 3 years. This year alone from January to June there has been a 20% increase in ‘drug abusers’ arrests compared to last year. This again indicates that firstly drugs are getting into Singapore and secondly people in Singapore are increasingly using drugs.
Another concern for the Singaporean government is the fact that a large percentage of those being arrested are first time users. This isn’t a problem Singapore can claim is due to chronic drug users. 41% of those arrested in 2008 were first time users, in 2009 45% arrested were first time users and in 2010 46% arrested were first time users. What this shows is Singapore’s inability in not only stopping long time users but also the fact that with its current drug police it is completely unable to stop first time users. Despite threats of caning, long prison sentences and the death sentence for carrying a certain level of drugs the number of users in Singapore is increasing not decreasing.
This highlights the fact that harsh laws don’t work and neither does Singapore’s infamous mandatory death sentence work. Drugs are still being smuggled in despite the threat of the death penalty and people are still using them despite the threat of caning. The Singapore government may say that the mandatory death sentence is a form of deterrent but it obviously doesn’t work and the statistics prove that. If drug use in Singapore is increasing then there is an ample amount getting through customs or other means into Singapore.
So what does the Singapore government think of the statistics? Well Mr Masagos, the chairman for the taskforce on drugs said they will "look at the problem afresh and comprehensively" don’t get too excited though he also pledged to maintain Singapore’s zero-tolerance policy. So the drugs taskforce is going to look at this issue ‘afresh’ yet are refusing to acknowledge that their zero-tolerance policy is not working. Despite the increase in raids by 40% since 2007 there is still no decline, despite the numerous ‘smugglers’ that Singapore sends to the gallows there is still no decline and despite the forced drug tests that many citizens are forced to take there is still no decline.
Singapore has been hiding behind the statistics for years saying that the decrease in drug user arrests shows their policy is working. Now that accurate statistics have come out it shows one thing and that is that it’s not working and it is time to admit that. The Singapore government now has no proof or practically anything to prove that their laws are cutting drug usage.