New inter-ministry committee set up to tackle drug abuse among youths

The committee is slated to begin work sometime in the third quarter of this year.

Fong Wai Kei
Fong Wai Kei

Published: 5 May 2023, 4:21 PM

A new inter-ministry committee will be set up by the Government to tackle drug abuse among youths, announced the Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam during his visit to the Pertapis Halfway House on Tuesday (May 2). 

This move follows the release of a recent survey by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), revealing 15.9 years old to be the mean age that local drug abusers begin consumption.

“That is worrying,” said Mr Shanmugan. “That means not everyone starts at 16, and some of the young people are starting below 16.”

The new committee, chaired by Mr Shanmugam, will focus on drug prevention efforts in homes through parents, in schools, in the community and in National Service.

It will see representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social & Family Development, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, People’s Association, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Ministry of Health. A total of seven Senior Ministers of State, Ministers of State and Senior Parliamentary Secretaries from the various ministries will be involved.

Mr Shanmugam was at Pertapis Halfway House to launch the new PRESTige programme where prisons will work with selected community partners to provide work therapy and skills training to Pertapis’ residents in hopes to keep them out of prison.

“We find that being employed and working at a job is one of the key factors in keeping people out of prison,” said Mr Shanmugam. Different types of jobs will be available, including cleaning and logistics.

The inter-ministry committee is slated to begin work sometime in the third quarter of this year.

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