Drug rehabilitation in Singapore: Journey of change

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Aim: This presentation discusses the provision of psychological intervention to drug abusers within a residential facility in Singapore. Our journey has involved the integration of theoretical knowledge from the field of addiction as well as knowledge amassed through local research. This was then developed into a group-based manualised Programme. These developments are then evaluated through robust process and outcome evaluation.

Method: First, needs analysis informed the theory of rehabilitation for new Programmes developed for male and female drug abusers. These Programmes, which were carried out in specific rehabilitation conducive environments were then evaluated in terms of their fidelity and effectiveness through qualitative and quantitative methods.

Results: The findings indicated areas of strength and improvement for these psychological Programmes for drug abusers. Specifically, the emphasis on designing an intervention that was closely aligned to the needs of the participants while ensuring the buy-in from the therapists involved were more readily embraced by the participants. Measurement through quantitative measures was not as robust as anticipated, thereby challenging its utility. The importance of implementation fidelity was discovered.

Conclusion: The use of a comprehensive framework in the design and evaluation of psychological drug intervention allow for confidence in the value of such interventions in a residential setting. However, there is much that can be further improved upon. While we have endeavoured to provide evidence-based psychological interventions, we have learnt several lessons regarding the importance of implementation and measurement that have led us to consider new solutions, which will be briefly discussed as we continue on our journey of change in the treatment of drug abusers in a residential setting in Singapore.


Chua Shu Hui, Ms. Singapore Prison Service Arvina Manoo Das, Ms. Singapore Prison Service Chua Weiling,Ms. Singapore Prison Service

Conflicts of interest:


Dr Jasmin Kaur