SINGAPORE - Close to two-thirds of new drug abusers arrested in 2016 were under the age of 30, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) revealed on Monday (Feb 13).
Online drug peddling has also become a significant concern, with a close to seven-fold increase in those arrested for buying drugs and drug-related paraphernalia online, as numbers soared from 30 in 2015 to 201 last year.
The two trends of concern were highlighted by CNB in an overview of the local drug situation.
CNB revealed that while the total number of drug abusers has decreased, the number of new abusers increased last year.
In 2016, the overall number of drug abusers arrested fell by 3 per cent from 3,343 in 2015 to 3,245, with offenders under 30 making up about 41 per cent of the figure.
While there was an overall improvement in the drug situation here, the number of new abusers increased by 3 per cent to 1,347 in 2016, up from 1,309 the previous year.
Close to two-thirds of new abusers were aged below 30, and those aged 20 to 29 continued to form the largest group of abusers in 2016.
According to the release, the total street value of drugs seized last year was estimated at around $8 million, down slightly from $8.56 million in 2015.
Methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis continued to be the most commonly abused drugs, with 99 per cent of drug abusers arrested having used at least one of the three.
For new drug abusers, methamphetamine and cannabis also remained the most commonly abused drugs.
Statistics also revealed that there was a 22 per cent increase in cannabis seizures, from 44.29kg in 2015 to 54.04kg in 2016.
Addressing the local drug situation, CNB said that drug syndicates and peddlers have taken advantage of the borderless nature of the Internet to conduct illegal drug activities, and most of those arrested for buying drugs or drug-related paraphernalia online were between the ages of 20 to 39.
Last year, to tackle the local drug situation, CNB partnered with the Singapore Police Force and conducted 19 island-wide operations targeting drug traffickers and abusers.
The two agencies also partnered with the Immigration Checkpoints Authority in 1,920 operations at land, air, and sea checkpoints to intercept drugs entering Singapore.
In 2016, CNB also conducted major operations which led to the crippling of 23 drug syndicates.
Said CNB's director Ng Ser Song: "The regional and global drug situations are also of concern. For example methamphetamine seizures in East and South-East Asia almost quadrupled between 2009 and 2014.
"Amidst such developments, CNB remains committed in the fight against drugs."