The Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam said there is "no clear evidence" that Singapore's national swimmers Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim are taking drugs currently.
He also affirmed that both have been dealt with fairly and equally in accordance with existing policies and regulations.
Current drug abusers treated as persons who really need help
Shanmugam said this in a Facebook post on Sep. 1, as well as at an event to launch Aibi Maxwell, a new wellness and lifestyle destination.
There, he responded to queries regarding punitive measures taken against Schooling and Lim.
Comparing the punishment doled out to drug abusers and drug traffickers, Shanmugam said Singapore is very "tough" on drug traffickers and those involved in the drug trade, where they may face capital punishment.
Drug abusers who have not committed any other offence, on the other hand, are treated with a "softer approach".
These individuals will be treated as people who really need help, Shanmugam wrote in his Facebook post, and steps will be taken to to help rehabilitate them. This may include DRC or supervision.
"No clear evidence"
Schooling and Lim have admitted to consuming cannabis in May in Vietnam.
In response to perceptions that both swimmers were given lighter punishments, Shanmugan wrote that there was no clear evidence that they were currently taking drugs.
"The evidence was inconclusive," he said, as the pair's urine tests were negative.
Individuals, whose current drug taking tests are negative are not sent to the drug rehabilitation centre (DRC) or given warnings, Shanmugam added.
However, Lim, who had a drug utensil in her possession, still received a warning from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
Based on the law, Schooling was handed over to MINDEF as he is a full-time National Servicemen (NSF).
The punishment Schooling faces was thus decided by MINDEF.
Schooling will be placed on a supervised urine test regime for six months. He will also no longer be eligible for leave or disruption to train or compete while he serves his National Service.
"Both Amanda and Schooling were not given any favourable or preferential treatment. They were treated like others in similar situations," Shanmugam reiterated.
He also concluded in his Facebook post:
"If there is clear evidence of current use of drugs, then CNB will take steps, regardless of whether the consumption took place in Singapore or overseas. So don’t assume that if you consume drugs overseas, you will be let off with a warning."
Top image from Team Singapore/Facebook