By Gloria James-Civetta

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Misuse of Drugs Act

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The objective of the Misuse of Drugs Act is to punish both the drug trafficker and the drug consumer.

According to Sections 5-7, it is an offence to traffick, manufacture, import or export, possess or consume controlled drugs in Singapore.

Section 8 governs the consumption of drugs outside Singapore by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident – if one has consumed drugs outside of Singapore and is found as a result of a urine test to have consumed drugs, he will have committed an offence under this section and will be taken to have consumed the drugs within Singapore. The punishment meted out will thus be the same.

It is also an offence under Section 9 to possess any pipes or utensils intended for smoking or for the administration of drugs. Section 10 also prohibits the cultivation of any plant from the genus of cannabis, or any plant from which cocaine can be extracted.

The presumptions listed in Sections 17-22 of the Act also states that anyone found in possession of the drugs will be presumed to be holding them for the purpose of trafficking until proven otherwise. The police also require no search warrant to enter any premises to search for drugs.

The list of controlled drugs in Singapore is available in the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The punishments for trafficking under this act are listed under the Second Schedule, and it is meted out depending on the class of drugs. Most trafficking offences carry a minimum of 5 years jail with 5 strokes of the cane and a maximum of 30 years and 15 strokes of the cane.

Apart from imprisonment, Section 34 lays down rules for the treatment and rehabilitation of the defendant if he is a drug addict. The defendant may be subjected to a supervision order conducted by a trained officer from the Bureau for a period of not more than 2 years at an approved institute in Singapore. Any defendant who is admitted into such an institute has to be detained for at least 6 months unless he is discharged earlier by the Director of the Central Narcotics Bureau or a Review Committee. They may lengthen the duration of treatment by another 6 months or lengthen the supervision order by another 2 years if they think further rehabilitation is needed. The maximum amount of time one is allowed to stay in the institution is 3 years.

If you have been charged with a drug-related offence, it is highly recommended that you seek immediate legal advice and representation. At GJC Law, we have a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system.

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Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our criminal representation lawyers at 6337 0469 or email us at

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