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Trafficking, possession and consumption of drugs in Singapore is a very serious offence. If you have been charged with a drug related offence you should not take it lightly. At Emerald Law our criminal defence lawyers specialise in assisting clients who have been charged with drug related offences. Our experience in dealing with such matters will allow us to assist you.

Talk to us today, there’s no cost for our consultation. 

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Drug Consumption: What is it and what are the sentences?

Singapore takes a very dim view of drugs and any offences relating to the abuse of it. As a result, the Misuse of Drugs Act, the main governing legislation enacted sets out harsh penalties for the various offences related to drugs.

Consumption – what is it?

Under the law, it is an offence for you to smoke, administer to yourself (injecting the drugs through a syringe, etc.) or consume a controlled and/or a specified drug. These drugs are listed in the Act under 3 different classes. The drugs listed include common ones that are always referred to and also uncommon ones.

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How will the Police know that I have consumed drugs?

Under the law, as long as any Police, Central Narcotics Bureau or Immigrations officer has reasons to believe or suspects that you may have consumed drugs, they can subject you to a urine test or a hair test under the Act. 

They are allowed to take a sample of either your urine or your hair to be tested by the Health Sciences Authority for any traces of drugs.

If the test reveals that there were traces of drugs in the sample, you are presumed to have taken the drugs illegally and voluntarily (i.e. you are guilty of abusing drugs) until you can prove otherwise.

What if I do not want to give them a sample?

The Act clearly states it is an offence if you fail or refuse to give a sample upon request and it is an offence that is punishable with a minimum imprisonment term of at least 1 year.

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What if I consumed the drugs whilst I was on holiday?

While there are some parts of that world that has taken a more relaxed stance in relation to certain drugs like Marijuana for example, you need to be reminded that as a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, the same governing law specifies that if you are found to have consumed drugs outside of Singapore, you can be dealt with as though you had consumed those drugs in Singapore.

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Do I have any defence?

Due to the presumption sections in the governing law in Singapore, there is a very difficult burden for you to discharge once traces of drugs are found in your urine. You are deemed to have taken the drugs voluntarily. Feigning ignorance (i.e. I did not know that what I took was drugs) is unlikely to get you out of trouble unless you can show that you had indeed no reason to believe or suspect that whatever you have taken to be drugs. 

The presumption acts against you in that you have to prove beyond doubt that you did not know or suspect that whatever you have taken and/or consumed to have contained drugs.

What kind of Sentences will I be serving if found guilty?

Since April 2019, the Government has taken a different approach on drugs abusers. Under the new regime which is more focused on rehabilitating these drug abusers, offenders who are classified as “pure drug abusers” will undergo rehabilitative treatment at the Drugs Rehabilitative Centre instead of serving an imprisonment term. 

First time abusers who admit to their drug consumption and do not face charges for other unrelated offences will be made to serve an average term of 1 year in the DRC. 

Likewise those facing drug consumption charges for the  3rd or even 4th time who would have been punished with Long-Term 1 and Long-Term 2 sentences of minimum of 5 years imprisonment and 3 strokes of the cane or 7 years minimum imprisonment and 6 strokes of the cane respectively may now be rehabilitated for up to 2 years or 3 to 4 years respectively at the DRC. 

This will then be followed up with one of the three community based programmes (halfway houses, day release from community supervision centre and home supervision with electronic tagging) for up to 5 years. 

The Minister for Law in Singapore has also stated that drug abusers who voluntarily come forward for rehabilitation will be considered for a shorter detention period in the DRC and that such abusers will be given the benefit of two such surrenders in their lifetime. 

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How can we help?

In the event that you have already been charged in Court, you may seek legal advice on the best option for you to take. We will also assist in writing letters of representation for you to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

If you wish to plead guilty to the offence, we will assist in preparing your mitigation and submission on sentence.

Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will see to your case. 

Section 8(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act in Singapore allows the Singapore Courts to charge a person with a fine of up to S$20,000 and a jail term of up to 10 years.


Factors such as the quantity of the drugs and the type of drugs found will also play a vital role in the sentencing. 


Contact us today if you or your loved one is in such a situation so that we can assist you. 

Under s 17 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, there is a presumption of trafficking when it comes to possession of certain drugs over a certain limit. The section specifies the drugs and the quantity that you need to possess for the presumption to kick in. If you are found to possess more than the quantity listed in this section, you are presumed to possess the drugs for the purposes of trafficking and depending on the type of drugs and the quantity, the offence of trafficking is one that is punishable by death.

Under Section 8A of the Misuse of Drugs Act a Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident, it is a crime to consume drugs outside of Singapore.


If any trace of a controlled drug is found in your urine or hair, there is a presumption that you had consumed the drug illegally under Section 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.


It is important to note that rebutting this presumption is a difficult task and we advise anyone in this situation to engage the help of a lawyer

Yes it is an offence to own such devices without a valid reason. While you may pass the urine or hair test you may still be charged for consuming drugs due to the fact that you possess such devices. 

Under Section 17 of the Misuse of Drugs Act if the amount and type of drug that was on you or at a location excess a certain amount you will be sentenced to jail and be ordered to be canned a certain number of strokes. 


It is important to note that based on the quantity and type of drug in your possession exceeds a certain amount, you may be sentenced to death by hanging. 

Under certain circumstances, you may be issued with a Certificate of Substantive Assistance.

With this certificate, your sentence of death will be lowered to life-imprisonment.

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We provide service with such dedication that we can even arrange to meet you outside of our normal office hours.

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Our specialised lawyers and their team are standing by to assist you. Our first consultation is free.

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