Singapore is one of Asia’s most vibrant cities, and it is no wonder that expats flock to it in droves. Many expats who move here thrive, but some get heavily involved in drugs.

The Singapore government is clear: people who take drugs within the country face severe punishment. This is why it is so important for you to get help with drug abuse if you live in Singapore.

Drug Abuse Expats in Singapore

Why do Expats in Singapore Get Addicted?

Singapore is a vibrant and bustling city that attracts professionals from all over the world. This dynamic environment can be both stimulating and overwhelming. The expat’s experience in Singapore may make it more likely for foreigners to become hooked on drugs while living in Singapore.

Work Pressure

Many expats come to Singapore to work in the finance and banking, legal services and trade and logistics industries. This type of work can come with high rewards, but there are also high expectations and demanding work schedules.

Being expected to work long hours each week and be at their best consistently leads some expats to turn to drugs to cope. Some take substances like cocaine to stay alert while at work, or to help them let their hair down outside of work hours.

Some expats in Singapore take downers like Xanax, heroin or alcohol so they can relax after work. It is common for drug use to lapse into work hours. Many who become dependent on these drugs eventually need to take them to stave off withdrawals.

Cultural Adjustment

Singapore’s culture is markedly different to Western countries. You may find cultural norms take some time to get used to, which can increase the pressure you feel when you first move to Singapore.


Moving to another country can be exciting, but it can also come with a great deal of isolation. In Singapore, you may have no family and friends, which means you must get out there and meet new people. This can be challenging, particularly if you are working long hours.

Expats in Singapore

Language Barriers

While most of the people at your work are likely to speak English, only around half of people in Singapore can speak English. This can cause some difficulties in communicating and feeling understood, which adds to the stresses of living in Singapore.

Consequences of Drug Abuse in Singapore

While there are always ramifications of drug abuse, in Singapore the consequences can be even more severe, leading to a greater need for help with drug abuse.

Harsh Sentences

Possession of illegal drugs can lead to imprisonment, fines and a permanent criminal record. In Singapore, even small quantities can land you in hot water.

Law enforcement agencies in Singapore operate a zero-tolerance policy, and random drug testing in nightclubs, bars and other public places can lead to immediate arrest if you have a positive test.

Drug-related offences can result in deportation and a ban on re-entry into Singapore, causing serious disruption to your life and career.

Health Issues

Chronic drug abuse can cause damage to every organ in the body. And drug abuse can also cause serious mental health problems.

How to Get Help With Drug Abuse in Singapore

If you have fallen victim to drug addiction in Singapore, there are several places you can go to get help.

Recovery Meetings

Fellowships like Narcotics Anonymous can give you the tools you need to stop using drugs. You should be aware that while these meetings can help with drug abuse, they cannot help you deal with the initial withdrawal period.

The Cabin's onsite medical staff

At the Cabin, we offer medical detox for all our clients who need it. During this process, our medical team will provide you with medications which will ensure a safe and relatively comfortable withdrawal.


Talk therapy is the most potent way of getting help with drug abuse. Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can guide you to the root of your problem, and help you to see the behavioral and thinking patterns which cause you to fall into addiction.

The first step to recovery from drug addiction is expert counselling

Our team of therapists at our drug treatment centre have worked with countless expats to help them stop using drugs, and they can help you too.


While counselling alone is enough for some people to recover from drug addiction if you have an addiction that is either severe, has lasted many years, or you have a co-occurring mental health problem, going to a rehab centre is your best opportunity for recovery.

Unfortunately, there are no high-quality rehab centres in Singapore, which means that expats in Singapore must go overseas to receive treatment.

The Cabin Chiang Mai Villa

For Singapore residents who need support for their drug problem, The Cabin offers its rehab centre in Chiang Mai. Our centre is situated in the idyllic Thai countryside, close to the banks of the Ping River.

It is here that you will have the opportunity to dive into the reasons behind your drug abuse in a picturesque facility, guided by some of the most skilled addiction professionals that Thailand has to offer.

We believe that our centre in Chiang Mai offers the best quality of care in Asia, and is only a 3-hour flight from Singapore. For more information on how we can help you or your loved one overcome drug abuse, contact us today at +66 20 385 469

Contact The Cabin Chiang Mai

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, don’t wait another day to reach out for help. Contact The Cabin Chiang Mai today and take the first step towards a promising, drug-free future.

About the Author

Dr. Saji Joseph

Dr. Saji Joseph

Gradueted MSW, PhD. Certified addiction therapist who has worked in multiple international rehabs since 2009 with a strong focus on treating addiction and related psychiatric comorbidities. His PhD work focuses on addiction relapse, and his practice is based on scientific evidence, ethics and compassion. He is a Certified Substance Abuse Therapist (CSAT) Level 3 by the Asia Pacific Certification Board and an International Certified Addiction Professional (ICAP) Level 3 by the Global Centre for Credentialing and Certification.

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