Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 11/15/2012 06:43 | By Channel NewsAsia

Singapore to explore using hair analysis to prosecute drug abusers

Singapore to explore using hair analysis to prosecute drug abusers

Singapore to explore using hair analysis to prosecute drug abusers

SINGAPORE: Singapore will explore the possibility of using hair analysis to complement urine testing for prosecution of drug abusers in future.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said this during the parliamentary debate on the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday.

Under the amended Act, hair analysis will be used for placing persons under drug supervision.

Hair analysis can detect the presence of drugs up to three months after drug use.

Urine testing has a detection window of about one week.

Mr Masagos said authorities in Singapore will learn from the experiences in other countries such as South Korea and Japan, as Singapore builds up its own capabilities in hair analysis.

He added that if hair analysis is used as a basis for prosecution in future, Singapore will establish the necessary safeguards to ensure a fair and robust system for determining whether someone has abused drugs.

Beyond the legislative amendments, Mr Masagos also outlined new measures to enhance the rehabilitation process.

Among them is the implementation of a new intervention programme in Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) to prevent relapse.

He said: "Prisons currently conduct psychological—based programmes to address risk factors that are likely to lead to re—offending. However, more can be done.

"Previously, DRC intervention programmes mostly only addressed drug abuse and addiction.

"The Taskforce on Drugs found that within the DRC regime, higher risk DRC inmates may also have other criminogenic risk factors to be addressed, such as anti—social thinking.

"As such, we will implement a new intervention programme in the DRCs to help these inmates address their multiple risk factors.

"These efforts will be complemented by a compulsory aftercare regime to enhance the supervision of DRC inmates upon release to reduce their risk of relapse into drug abuse."

— CNA/ir

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