Addiction in Singapore – Alcohol and Drug Treatment

Singapore is a thriving global financial hub and described as one of Asia’s economic “tigers”. It is also renowned for its conservatism and strict local laws. Like all developed nations it has residents who face addictions ranging from alcoholism, substance abuse and behavioral disorders like gambling.


Drug Addiction

Yes, drug addiction is a problem in Singapore despite the squeaky clean image and the zero tolerance approach to illicit drugs. In Singapore, any sort of illicit drug use is a criminal offence and punished with a prison sentence. This means there is a certain stigma related to drug use here.

The Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) permits the police to search anyone they suspect of drug trafficking or drug use without asking the court for a warrant. The police can ask anyone to perform a urinalysis; not taking the test is seen as a presumption of guilt.

Those convicted of drug trafficking are often sentenced to death. The MDA empowers the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) to commit a drug abuser for treatment and rehabilitation in a drug rehabilitation centre for between 6 and 36 months.


WARNING: Consumption or possession of drugs carries a fine of up to S$20,000 and/or ten years in prison.


The Wrong Approach to Treating Drug Addiction?

The government has prioritized the “War on Drugs” but has not really done much to provide proper rehabilitation programs for recovering drug addicts.

Drug addiction is considered to be a moral failing rather than as a disease in Singapore. This means many addicts try to hide their condition as much as possible and go underground. For this reason, many local and international experts have called for a more humane treatment of drug addicts, one that seeks to understand them and empathises with their condition, rather than treat them like criminals.


  • 77% Methamphetamine
  • 12% Cannabis
  • 9% Heroin
  • 2% Other drugs including 
ecstasy, ketamine, cocaine


Source: Central Narcotics Bureau
cannabis singapore

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse in Singapore

Even though Singapore has a reduced rate of alcohol consumption compared to other developed nations, the problem of binge drinking and alcohol abuse is a growing problem – particularly amongst the young adult population.

Alcohol addiction is a chronic condition where people drink uncontrollably despite all the negative effects their drinking has on their lives and the people around them. It can destroy finances, relationships, work, and both physical and mental health.

Continued alcohol abuse is connected to over 200 diseases on top of alcoholism. It can severely damage the liver and brain, as well as contribute to several kinds of cancer including bowel, breast, and mouth cancer.

The Best Choice for the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Addiction in Singapore

Addiction is a disease that has to be treated with the right combination of discipline, compassion and therapy. Intensive treatment should be supervised by trained doctors, therapists and other addiction specialists.

There are local services available in Singapore that can help with a range of addictions. They range from private outpatient clinics like The Cabin Singapore to community services like We Care who treat all forms of addictions including drugs, alcohol, and compulsive behaviors.

It is also common for people who have the financial resources to travel overseas for inpatient treatment at one of Asia’s leading residential addiction treatment and recovery centers.

World-class residential treatment facilities can be found primarily in Thailand but also in Bali and Malaysia. In some instances it may be necessary to undertake a medically assisted detox before entering into an inpatient treatment program. Some rehabs are however able to offer this services onsite.


Singapore law does require doctors to inform the CNB if they treat someone who has a drug addiction. The CNB is then able to act on that information to ensure a patient stays clean, and they may question the patient. The CNB says that they will continue taking action against drug abusers, and they will work with parents and community members to properly education people against the dangers of drug abuse.

If you or someone you know is facing negative consequences from addiction or compulsive behaviors, the team at Rehabs Asia can give you 100% confidential and independent advice. We can help you find the most appropriate from of treatment based on your circumstances and budget.