Singapore’s anti-drug strategy has worked well. Singapore has one of the lowest rates of drug abuse in the world: 30 opiates abusers per 100,000 people, compared with 600 in the United States. The U.S. opioid crisis has been declared a public-health emergency; 64,000 died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2016. In the 1990s, Singapore arrested more than 6,000 drug abusers annually. By 2016, this number had gone down to about 3,000.
Any suggestion that Singapore’s judicial process is “shrouded in secrecy and misinformation” is inaccurate. Cases are tried in open court and are reported. The death penalty is imposed only for the most serious offenses, including drug trafficking. Singapore does not take joy in the death penalty. But Singaporeans understand the need for it and strongly support it.
When expressing sympathy for drug traffickers, let us remember the immense harm drugs cause abusers and their families, especially children.
Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Washington
The writer is Singapore’s ambassador to the United States.