Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr Desmond Lee, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development A/P Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Acting Director for the Central Narcotics Bureau Mr Winston Wong jointly launched a Preventive Drug Education (PDE) toolkit for educators today, at the ACT! Conference on At-Risk Youths. The toolkit was one of the recommendations1 announced by the Task Force on Youths and Drugs (TFYD) in June 2015.
- Developed by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), with inputs from the Ministry of Education (MOE), the toolkit aims to equip educators with knowledge on drug abuse, and enlist their help to support and keep youths away from drugs. Educators can refer to this toolkit when teaching their students about the harms of drug abuse. The toolkit comprises six sections:
- Information on the commonly-abused drugs, the effects and dangers associated with abusing these drugs and inhalants, and the penalties for the possession, consumption or trafficking of these drugs in Singapore.
- Contacts and helplines which educators can refer to for additional assistance if they encounter a student with drug abuse problems, or if they require more information on drugs.
- Rehabilitation programmes available to youth drug abusers to help their rehabilitation from drug abuse.
- Findings of a study on young abusers, commissioned by the TFYD and conducted by Home Team psychologists. It provides information on the profiles of youth abusers, their motivations, risk factors and views on drugs. It also lists the telltale signs of potential drug abuse among students, and ways that educators can help them say ‘no’ to drugs.
- The laws protecting our youths from the drug threat and the penalties for committing drug or inhalant-related offences.
- Suggested lesson plans that educators can use to conduct activities for their students, when teaching them about the harms of drug abuse.
- Speaking on the role of educators in the fight against drugs, Mr Amrin Amin said, “As educators and youth counsellors, you are our major touch-points with our youths and play a significant role in advancing our anti-drug cause. Your continued support has been and will continue to be crucial in our anti-drug efforts.”
- Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, Director of Student and Graduate Affairs at Republic Polytechnic and a member of the Task Force on Youths and Drugs Steering Committee, said, “Students nowadays are exposed to mass media and social media influences which glamorise the use of drugs such as cannabis. The toolkit is useful as it equips us with information and creative ideas on how to better engage our students on the dangers of drugs.”
- The soft copy of the toolkit can be downloaded on the CNB website2. Copies of the toolkits will be distributed to schools in January 2016. A toolkit for parents will be launched next year.
Central Narcotics Bureau
4 November 2015
See Photos below.
Photo-1 : [from left to right] Mr Winston Wong, Acting Director, CNB; Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs; Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development; and Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs, jointly launching a Preventive Drug Education toolkit for educators, 4 November 2015, at the ACT! Conference on At-Risk Youths.
Photo credit: Home Team News
Photo-2 : PDE Toolkit for Educators.
Photo-3 : PDE Toolkit for Educators [with view of some contents within].
SPEECH BY PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR HOME AFFAIRS MR AMRIN AMIN:
LAUNCH OF PREVENTIVE DRUG EDUCATION TOOLKIT ON 4 NOV 2015
AT THE ACT! CONFERENCE ON AT-RISK YOUTHS
Mr Desmond Lee, Chairman of the National Committee on Youth Guidance and Rehabiliation, and Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs,
A/P Faishal, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for joining me this morning as we launch the Preventive Drug Education toolkit for educators and counsellors.
Drug Situation Among Youths
- This toolkit was one of the key recommendations of the Task Force on Youths and Drugs, which completed its report a few months ago.
- The Taskforce was convened because there were some worrying drug trends among youths. First, there are more young drug abusers aged below 30 who have been arrested in recent years. In 2014, 1,110 young abusers were arrested, compared to 826 in 2010. This is a 34% increase. Second, new drug abusers arrested are generally younger. The proportion of new abusers arrested who are aged below 30 has risen from about half in 2010 to two-thirds in 2014. Third, the profile of young abusers has changed. We are beginning to arrest young drug abusers who are doing well in their studies and who come from middle-class families. This is not a segment of the youth population that typically consumes drugs. Many youths of this profile are cannabis abusers. They abuse cannabis because of the misperception that it is not addictive or harmful. Fourth, clusters of young cannabis abusers are emerging. A cluster develops when one young person takes cannabis. He then introduces it to his friends, who in turn introduce it to their friends. This creates a multiplier effect.
- These trends remind us that we must continue with our efforts to tackle the drug scourge decisively. We must focus on upstream preventive drug education efforts and educate our young that drugs cause harm. There is no such thing as a “soft” drug. Our young people should stay clear of drugs. This is our first and most important line of defence against drugs.
A Toolkit for Educators and Counsellors
- To do this, we need to reach out not only to our youths, but also to those who are critical in shaping their lives and their values. This is why the Central Narcotics Bureau or CNB has, with the help of MOE, developed a preventive drug education toolkit for educators and counsellors.
- The toolkit will help in two ways. First, it contains useful information about the drug situation in Singapore – what the common illicit drugs are, what our laws state about drug abuse, and what rehabilitation programmes are available for young drug abusers.
- Second, the toolkit provides tips to recognise warning signs of a potential drug problem, and who educators and counsellors should call to seek help from. There are also suggested lesson plans and activities to help youths understand why drugs are harmful and how they can stay away from drugs.
- CNB will be distributing this toolkit to schools and tertiary institutions by Jan 2016. I hope that you will find this toolkit useful in your interactions with your students. We are also developing a similar toolkit for parents, which will be launched by the middle of next year.
Everyone has a part to play
- Ladies and Gentlemen, our fight against drugs requires a whole-of-society effort. Everyone has a part to play. As educators and youth counsellors, you are our major touch-points with our youths and play a significant role in advancing our anti-drug cause.
- Your continued support has been and will continue to be crucial in our anti-drug efforts. I hope that you will continue to work closely with us to protect our youths from drugs. Together, we can keep Singapore drug-free.
- Thank you.
2 Download the toolkit at the PDE portal on CNB’s website, http://www.cnb.gov.sg/PDE_PDFs/CNB_Booklet_FA_lowres.pdf.