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Singapore Cracks Down On Casual Drug Users

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, March 5, 2005
Authorities in Singapore have launched an advertising campaign aimed at "jet set' recreational drug users, following the recent arrests of 12 high society citizens for using cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.

56 year old oil baron Petrus Van Wanrooij was the latest of the dozen to be jailed this week, receiving 11 months in jail after cops detected ecstasy in his blood stream. British expatriate Nigel Simmonds is currently serving 2 years after being caught with 0.8 grams of cocaine while the leaders of the ring are likely to be executed. Simmonds previously edited Singapore Tatler, ironically one of the magazines the anti drug adverts will soon be displayed in. Campaign director Frank Young said the adverts are specifically targeted at the island state's elite.

"Tatler and Peak readers are often rich and powerful, people who think they are always in control, so the advertisement challenges them to think whether they can control cocaine if they mess around with it," he told the Singapore Straits Times.

"Subconsciously, they already know the answer. It's a definite 'no' and this makes the advertisement more effective."

The new campaign against upper class users could have implications for tourists or even those passing through Singapore Airport in transit, who could find themselves similarly jailed if testing positive for traces of even cannabis.

In 1999, a Singapore couple were sentenced to 12 months after being found guilty of smoking a joint three weeks before they returned home, prompting Britain's Foreign Office to warn visitors to stay off the spliff for at least six weeks.

"Travellers should not be surprised, a spokesman said, if they are arrested when traces of drugs are found in urine," the Times reported at the time. "The Foreign Office said that people who take drugs before entering those countries were "reckless' and "utterly stupid'."