Politicians have the answer — the magic demand-side solution to creating a drug-free world. It’s a simple concept called deterrence.
If there’s an activity with which you disapprove, all you have to do is find the right penalty, and people will stop doing it. Deterrence!
So the politicians came up with jail terms for possessing certain drugs, but people still used them. Hmm… must need more deterrence. OK, so you’re not just arrested with possession of an illicit drug, anymore. Now they add on trafficking and manufacturing, and paraphernalia possession, and money laundering, and conspiracy, and intent, and bad thoughts. But that didn’t quite do it, so they added additional penalties for being near a school or someone who ever went to school, and yet that didn’t work, so they added mandatory minimums and sentencing guidelines and three strikes…
Just need to find that right level of deterrence and people will stop using these drugs…
Singapore is Asia’s second-richest country, with a 2006 GDP per capita of $29,000, on a par with Italy and Spain. The booming economy, driven by manufacturing and financial services, has made the city-state a playground for the rich.
And with money to throw around, some of these rich Singaporeans are spending it on drugs smuggled from neighbouring Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
They are taking a big risk.
In Singapore, anyone caught carrying more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine, 500 grams of cannabis or 250 grams of methamphetamines faces a mandatory death sentence by hanging.
“There are definitely a lot of people doing drugs in the party scene, but it doesn’t get reported,” said Ling, who would only give her first name.
With its borders closely monitored, it is not clear how drugs enter Singapore. But former gang members say some drugs are brought in on boats from Indonesian islands, or smuggled from Malaysia.
According to Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau ( CNB ) figures, 1,127 drug users were arrested in 2006 compared to 793 in 2005. Amnesty International says about 400 people have been sentenced to death in Singapore since 1991, most for drug trafficking.
… I guess they just need tougher drug laws.