In this article, Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, explores the recent sharp increase in the handing down of the death penalty as a sentence for drug-related offences in Singapore and globally.

The 1973 Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), the basis for Singapore’s national drug policy, imposes draconian and disproportionate sentences – including the mandatory death penalty for at least 20 different drug-related offences.

In Clark’s words, the MDA has not fulfilled its intention of preventing and combatting illicit drug trafficking and drug use, as those individuals who are caught and penalised for committing drug-related offences tend to be the lower-level dealers and users. In a trend seen both in Singapore and globally, the burden of the focus on low-level offenders generally falls on more vulnerable and marginalised groups which end up being the victims of an overwhelmed criminal justice system.

The full text of the article is available here.

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