An interesting table of data compiled at Yawning Bread surveys the drug abuse prevalence in 19 countries including Singapore and will immediately ask the question to those so eager to believe that the death penalty is an efficient deterrent, why it is that:
The data for drug abuse prevalence rates are taken from the website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC). The numbers are estimates of the percentage of a country's population, aged 15 – 64, who are hooked on opiate drugs (which includes heroin).
The columns on the right relating to the death penalty are from Amnesty International's website.
Singapore indeed has a low rate of drug abuse. Only about 0.1 percent of our population are considered to have so succumbed. But this is also the case for Finland, Sweden and Mexico. Yet these countries do not need the death penalty to enjoy the same low rates of drug abuse.
1. Countries such as Mexico, Sweden and Finland are able to achieve the same prevalence rate (0.1%) as Singapore without the use of the death penalty; and
2. Countries such as China (0.2%), Malaysia (0.2%) and Thailand (0.5%) have higher prevalences than Singapore despite enacting the death penalty on drug traffickers.
Assuming that the death penalty should be the first line of defence against the trafficking of drugs and its availability to the population neglects many other factors that may dominate the observed low drug prevalence. The conclusion is that the death penalty most certainly cannot be the prevailing factor in deterring drug abuse. And yet it is still the death penalty supporters who insist that without the death penalty, the fabric of society will collapse to the drug trade.
These are indeed simple yet important factors suggested by mrdarren that the same people brush away so easily without a moment's thought. These hypotheses in addition to Waipang's findings will never be concrete evidence to prove the death penalty inefficient; only Singapore's own statistics on execution rates can do that. But they do show the complexity of the issue. And certainly one that cannot easily be tackled by assumptions.
the death penalty may not be the cause of scarce availability of drugs in SG. They could simply co-exist, analogous to the co-existence of dark clouds and rain. Could there be more direct causes?
a) Increased vigilance in customs inspection for drugs
b) Improved use of technology in drugs detection
c) Increased police manpower for Central Narcotics Bureau
d) Increased collaboration within ASEAN on sharing of information on drug syndicates
e) Stricter penalties against personal drugs consumption
f) Increased public education on dangers of drugs consumption
g) Improving social conditions in SG (conditions that encourage drug use)