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Chitchat Balls shrinked! Shanmugam worried about global drugs situation



'Every region is affected': Shanmugam lays out 'worrying' global drugs situation​

'Every region is affected': Shanmugam lays out 'worrying' global drugs situation

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Published May 8, 2024
Updated May 8, 2024
SINGAPORE — Every region in the world is affected by drugs, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Wednesday (May 8) in parliament.
He was laying out the global and regional narcotics situation as part of a ministerial statement on Singapore’s drug control policy.


Close to Singapore, the Golden Triangle — or where the borders of Myanmmar, Thailand and Laos meet — is a major drug-producing region, said Mr Shanmugam.
In 2022, 151 tonnes of methamphetamine were seized in East and Southeast Asia, he noted.
Neighbouring Malaysia seized 6,200kg of cannabis in 2022, up from 3,700kg in 2021, Mr Shanmugam said, calling it a “worrying trend”.


Strong, growing support for death penalty reflected in surveys of Singapore, neighbouring countries: Shanmugam

Even first-world countries in Europe “have been hard hit”, he said, with their ports described as “drug hubs” and “safe terrain for narcos”.
In the European Union, half of all homicides and more than a quarter of illegal firearms seizures are linked to drug trafficking, he added.


“Members can just consider just how many lives have been lost,” said Mr Shanmugam, pointing to the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and the United Kingdom as examples.
In Belgian city Antwerp, there have been hundreds of shootings, grenade attacks, fires and bombings in the last decade, with many linked to gang-related violence to do with the cocaine trade, said Mr Shanmugam.
Antwerp's mayor has described the situation as a much bigger threat than the 2016 Brussels bombings that killed 32 people.
“When terrorists attack, it becomes big news," said Mr Shanmugam. "But with drug violence, it gets ignored, even though it is much bigger and a more continuous threat, which affects many more people. And really, this should be taken more seriously.”


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Belgian customs seized a record amount of cocaine last year, and they were not able to burn the drugs quickly enough, said Mr Shanmugam.


“Customs officials now tell the media that they will never win the war against the cartels,” he continued.
He then highlighted a United Nations report on how 18 out of 21 countries in Latin America are the main sources for the transit of cocaine.
In Mexico, murders, abductions and forced disappearances happen almost every day because of turf wars between drug cartels, said Mr Shanmugam.
Nearly 450,000 people have been killed since 2006, and a "significant number" are believed to be linked to drugs and the drug trade, he added.


Mr Shanmugam noted that in recent years, some places have chosen to legalise drugs.


“They take the position that drug use is a personal choice, and it should be destigmatised and allowed under certain conditions,” he added.
But some of these jurisdictions later reversed their policies after realising that the results were “not as promised”.
In 2020, the state of Oregon in the United States decriminalised the use and possession of small amounts of most drugs, including cocaine, meth and heroin.
The 58 per cent of voters who supported this thought the police could "focus on other work", and that abusers would feel less stigmatised and seek treatment, he added.
After the policy was pushed through, the number of drug overdose deaths more than doubled from about 600 in 2019 to 1,300 in 2022.
“People felt very unsafe on the streets, businesses started leaving and the situation got very bad,” said Mr Shanmugam.
By August 2023, the majority of people in Oregon wanted to repeal the measure, and they did so in 2024.
Thailand also decriminalised cannabis in 2022, making it no longer a crime to grow and trade marijuana and hemp products or to use any parts of the plant to treat illnesses.
“When cannabis was legalised, it was available immediately almost anywhere you looked — in restaurants, convenience stores, even near schools,” said Mr Shanmugam.
Within six months, the number of addicts quadrupled, he noted.
“There were young teens and children who consumed cannabis-infused cookies, candies, sweets. They thought these were ordinary snacks but ended up having to be hospitalised.”
The Thai government recently announced plans to reimpose a ban on recreational cannabis use by the end of this year.
"But it's no longer going to be easy to do because if part of it is legal and part of it is not legal, then enforcement is not going to be easy," said Mr Shanmugam.
Businesses that have invested in the industry will also "push back strongly", he added.
“Those who are now addicted to the drug will find it very difficult to kick off the habit, and will need to be supported by the healthcare system.
"The consequences in many cases can be irreversible. The impact will be very long-lasting.”
When governments "experiment" with laws around drugs, they are experimenting with “the lives of people”, including those of young innocent children, said the Home Affairs and Law Minister.
“Such policies and U-turns have a long-term impact on the next generation, and the impact cannot be easily reversed.”
If parents become drug addicts, homeless and unemployed, their children "suffer disproportionately", he added.
Mr Shanmugam pointed to a Gallup survey showing a doubling of the proportion of Americans who say that drug use has caused trouble in their family, from 1999 to 2021.
Another study projected that by 2030, about 4.3 million children and adolescents in the US would have a parent with an opioid use disorder or be affected by opioids themselves.
"These children often don’t have a proper home to grow up in, no role models to look up to and no stability to anchor their development," said Mr Shanmugam.
"Without basic support, they have poorer educational outcomes, increased likelihood of developing substance use disorders and early emergence of chronic diseases.
"The cycle will keep repeating itself. Really, one has got to ask, who speaks for the human rights of these millions of affected children?" CNA


What? The snake worries?

I thought he always had the best solution for this problem? He just hangs them and problem solve. Or was it not?


Alfrescian (Inf)
Only three crimes need the death penalty: murder, treason and terrorism.

Everything else is optional and done at the whim of the incumbent ruling class.