SINGAPORE — Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Thursday (1 September) explained the reasons for the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) not taking action against Joseph Schooling and warning against Amanda Lim after the two swimmers were investigated for drug consumption.
In a follow-up post on his Facebook page, Shanmugam said that a number of people have asked him on his page for the reasons behind the steps taken in relation to the two swimmers’ drug use given Singapore’s tough anti-drug policies.
Shanmugam said that Singapore is “very tough” on drug traffickers and others involved in the drug trade, with sanctions including capital punishment.
This is in contrast to the treatment for “pure” drug abusers who have not committed other offences, he added.
While drug consumption is an offence, Shanmugam explained, “Since 2019, our approach is to treat such pure drug abusers, as persons who really need help. They will not be imprisoned or have a criminal record.”
Among the steps to help them rehabilitate and reintegrate into society more quickly and effectively include a stint at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) or supervision, Shanmugam said.
On Schooling and Lim, Shanmugam said that there was no clear evidence that they were currently taking drugs and that their urine tests were negative. But he noted they were honest and admitted to having taken drugs in the past.
Lim was warned for having a drug utensil while Schooling was handed over to the Ministry of Defence since he is a full-time national serviceman, in accordance with the law.
For people who might have taken drugs years ago or months ago, they are not sent to a DRC or even given warnings, in the absence of current drug-taking or a positive test, Shanmugam said.
But he added, “If there is clear evidence of current use of drugs, then CNB will take steps, regardless of whether the consumption took place in Singapore or overseas. So don’t assume that if you consume drugs overseas, you will be let off with a warning.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Shanmugam said that Schooling and Lim had brought glory to Singapore and Singaporeans remember them for what they have done.
“I am sure Singaporeans will be gracious…and give them our support and backing," he added.
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