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More going abroad for drug fix

Easy availability, low cost lure S'pore users abroad despite danger of contaminated drugs

Published on Apr 6, 2014 8:00 AM
 
More Singaporeans are going abroad - to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and even Japan - for an easy fix, say social workers and drug addiction counsellors. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUHAMMAD SHAH

The club's dance floor was filled with partygoers, some of whom were lying in pools of vomit, too drugged to notice.

In the karaoke rooms, tables were turned into display counters for a host of party drugs, including Ecstasy and ketamine - all for sale. All Lynne had to do was pick her poison, pay, then shoot up for another temporary high.

The next day, a short trip across the Causeway brings her home to Singapore. The club, after all, was in Johor.

Since being sentenced to five years in jail for trafficking ketamine, 29-year-old Lynne, now an administrative assistant, has cleaned up.

 
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Background story

LOCAL SCENE DRUG-FREE

The party scene here is largely free of substance abuse because of Singapore's zero-tolerance stance.

Organisers of ZoukOut, one of Asia's biggest music dance festivals and which is usually held on Sentosa, has been drug-free since it started 13 years ago.

"Our security conducts two stages of stringent checks before partygoers are allowed in," Zouk's head of marketing and events, Mr Timothy Chia, told The Sunday Times.

The first stage involves bag checks, the second is a body frisk. Inside, around 250 security personnel keep a lookout for people peddling or using drugs.

Similar measures are employed by Tanjong Beach Club, which has been hosting a Full Moon Party since 2011, said the chief operating officer of The Lo & Behold Group, Mr Andrew Ing.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) also regularly conducts operations at major party events, said its spokesman, adding that "several arrests have been made in the past".

"In Singapore, drugging at parties is not a problem," said Ms Lin Qingfei, a counsellor at the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association. "The party spots here don't allow this, and there are lots of raids. But overseas, it's a different story."

The CNB also has the power to test and charge citizens and permanent residents here for drug use overseas - provided the drugs are still in their system when they get back here. From 2009 to 2013, 80 people were arrested for consuming drugs overseas.

Hoe Pei Shan