Launched on Oct 17 at the Singapore Management University (SMU), the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA)’s Anti-Drug 07/08 campaign is targeted at youths today.
Emphasising on the detrimental effects of synthetic drugs such as ‘Ecstasy’, nimetazepam (street name – ‘Erimin-5’), ketamine (a.k.a ‘K’), metamphetamine, more commonly known as ‘Ice’ or ‘Ya Ba’, the message for this year’s campaign is – “Drugs. If you play, you pay”.
According to a report by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), the number of synthetic drug users has already shown a steady decline. Although this is so, synthetic drugs still form the largest proportion of drug abusers arrested last year. The threat of synthetic drugs will remain a challenge as new synthetic drugs can emerge with the rapid advancement of science and technology.
Dr Loo Choon Yong, Chairman of NCADA, said, “Synthetic drugs remain the most commonly abused drugs among our youths, and we want to caution them to stay away from experimenting with synthetic drugs. NCADA hopes to reduce the number of new entrants into the drug scene.”
The changing attitude of the young towards drug abuse, in particular synthetic drugs, and well-traveled Singaporeans exposed to alternative views, values and lifestyles may possibly lead to greater tolerance towards drugs. Therefore, the challenge lies in preventing any spillover from the region to Singapore and in sustaining zero tolerance of drug abuse in Singapore.
Many youths at risk are unaware of the reality of getting arrested and jailed for drug-related offences. Ms Theodore Lai, a third year SMU undergraduate, 21, said, “One of the major problems is that youths do not realise what they are getting themselves into when they abuse drugs.”
Thus, this time round, NCADA and its media partners have developed a street-art based campaign that resonates with their lifestyle and interests, and overlays aspiration-driven images of real advertising with the very stark message of going to prison for drug related offences.
By disrupting the glamour of such imagery in this surprising and unexpected way, NCADA aims to deliver the message that drugs can potentially take away lives and freedom. The threat of losing everything is the crux of the Anti-Drug Campaign 07/08 so as to convince youths today who abuse drugs to stop and to those who are thinking about experimenting that it’s not worth taking up such a dangerous hobby.
NCADA, which comprises of key members from the community, acts as a link between the community and the Government. Through their background, NCADA members help to gather feedback and ideas from the community in order to tackle the drug situation.