CNB Explains: Where do youth drug abusers go when caught?

08 Dec 2022

To help drug abusers successfully reintegrate into society and help reduce recidivism, differentiated pathways of rehabilitation and treatment were introduced. Abusers caught purely for consumption offences are usually sent for treatment and rehabilitation instead of being charged in Court. Therefore, these abusers who are sent to DRC for treatment and rehabilitation will not hold a criminal record for their drug abuse offence. On the other hand, drug abusers who are under investigation for other drug or criminal offences will be charged in court under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1973.

Drug abusers could be placed directly on the Drug Supervision Scheme or admitted to the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) for treatment and rehabilitation. They are introduced to evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation plans that provide them with the skills to build a drug-free life. CNB and Singapore Prison Service (SPS) work closely to provide this support system.

The pathways of recovery depend on the abusers’ assessed risk of reoffending. Find out more on the pathways of recovery below.


Diagram 1: Rehabilitation and supervision for youths caught for the first time, purely for drug consumption offences

Drug abusers who reoffend will be sent to the DRC.



Diagram 2: Rehabilitation and supervision for youths caught multiple times, purely for drug consumption offences

Youth Enhanced Supervision for first-time, lower risk youth abusers

Supervisees served with Youth Enhanced Supervision (YES) are first-time, eligible lower risk youth abusers. The programme is run by Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the scheme is a non-residential programme that was introduced in 2013 that targets youth abusers (below 21 years of age) assessed to have lower risk of drug re-offending.

Young suspects will be assessed by MSF’s triage officer on their risk of reoffending and suitability for the Scheme. At least one parent/guardian will be present during the interview.

To ensure that youths receive sufficient support from the family, family members are involved in mandatory counselling sessions. Parents are equipped with parenting approaches to help their children to stay drug free while youths are engaged in sessions focusing on increasing motivation for change and teaching them new skills to stay away from drugs. Under the scheme, youths undergo regular urine tests at CNB concurrently with their counselling sessions. This is a 6-month programme which may be extended by another 6 months.

Drug Rehabilitation Centre for repeat and or higher-risk abusers.

Drug abusers with moderate or higher risk of relapse or who are repeat abusers will undergo rehabilitation at the DRC. To help abusers to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society, abusers who successfully complete their DRC regime will not have a criminal record.

This applies only if they are not under investigation for any other drug or criminal offence for which they may be charged in court. In such an instance, the abuser may also be charged in court for drug consumption and if found guilty, will have a criminal record.

In the DRC, they receive intensive rehabilitation carried out by Singapore Prison Service (SPS) where the type of programme, intensity and duration of rehabilitation varies according to individuals’ rehabilitation needs. This includes psychological-based intervention programmes that target drug use habits, family programmes that equip inmates with relationships skills, as well as vocational and employability skills training to support ex-abusers in their reintegration into society.

The DRC separates abusers by risk of reoffending and treatment and rehabilitation would be for 12 months or more. In 2019, in order to help pure drug abusers to reintegrate back into society, the rehabilitation regime was enhanced and extended to repeat pure drug abusers who were third-timers and above. More on the DRC regime can be found here.

Post-release, abusers undergo urine and/or hair supervision to detect and deter relapse.

Community Rehabilitation Centre (CRC) a step-down arrangement from the DRC

Introduced in 2014 for new young offenders aged 16 to below 21, the CRC is for eligible youths assessed to have moderate risk of drug abuse. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) set up the CRC in 2014 as a step-down arrangement for first-time youth drug abusers who have completed a short detention at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC). The centre provides case management support, where case managers or reintegration officers continue to support drug abusers in addressing their reintegration needs, while minimising disruption to the abusers’ daily lives in a 12-month regime

Those who complete the CRC programme will undergo CNB’s supervision scheme for a period of up to 5 years to ensure that they remain drug-free in the long run. More on the CRC can be found here.

Post-release, abusers undergo hair and/or urine supervision to detect and deter relapse.

Staying drug-free can be tough and supervision can help keep drug abusers from a relapse.

All drug abusers caught after 1 August 2019 for drug consumption are issued Supervision Orders and placed on the Drug Supervision Scheme for five years.

As a supervisee, they undergo regular mandatory urine tests. Such regular checks help deter drug relapse and allow for early intervention if they do relapse. Supervisees who do well on supervision may be allowed to do hair analysis tests which offer longer periods in between checks; however, this privilege may be withdrawn should supervisees fail to observe the terms of the supervision order.

The 5-year supervision order is to help abusers kick the drug habit and develop a drug-free lifestyle.

As elaborated above, first-time youth abusers assessed to have low risk of offending can be emplaced directly on supervision through YES while others are sent to the DRC prior to serving their Supervision Order. Eligible supervisees also go through Community Supervision Sessions conducted by CNB officers. Since 2019, CNB officers have started to be trained in Community Supervision Skills (CoSS) needed to effectively engage supervisees. Find out more about Community Supervision Sessions by CNB here.