Drug abusers nabbed down by 14%, two-thirds of new offenders below age of 30: CNB

Drugs and over $12,000 cash found during a raid on an alleged drug syndicate by Central Narcotics Bureau in September 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Drugs and over $12,000 cash found during a raid on an alleged drug syndicate by Central Narcotics Bureau in September 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) arrested 3,085 drug abusers last year, a 14 per cent drop from the 3,581 offenders arrested in 2013.

Among those arrested last year, about one in three - or 1,058 - were new drug abusers, a slightly higher proportion compared to 2013, according to CNB's annual drug report released on Monday.

GRAPHIC: CNB

The bureau also expressed concern that about two-thirds of new drug abusers are below the age of 30.

In a statement on Monday, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli noted that the proportion of younger drug abusers has increased compared to five years ago.

Of the total drug abusers arrested last year, 34 per cent were aged below 30, up from 29 per cent in 2010.

Among new abusers arrested last year, 67 per cent were aged below 30, up from 51 per cent in 2010.

GRAPHIC: CNB

"The Taskforce on Youth and Drugs which was recently formed will study this situation of youths and drugs carefully. We will then recommend appropriate measures to tackle the problem and help empower youths to stay away from drugs," Mr Masagos said.

The drugs seized last year were estimated to be worth $8.14 million - about 60 per cent lower compared to the previous year. But the amount of cannabis seized - the third most commonly abused drug - saw an increase of about 125 per cent, from 15.57kg in 2013 to 35kg.

Heroin and methamphetamine, or "Ice", remained the two most commonly abused drugs, with about 92 per cent of those arrested having consumed one or the other, said the CNB in statement.

While most offenders generally took one drug type, about 15 per cent of them consumed more than one drug type, with the combination of heroin and methamphetamine being the most common.

GRAPHIC: CNB

Last year, the CNB conducted 52 major operations, including 20 island-wide operations, taking out 21 drug syndicates.

CNB director Ng Ser Song said the drug situation remains challenging as production and seizures of drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine continues to grow.

"We see some jurisdictions lobbying for cannabis legalisation or decriminalisation. We are also keeping a close watch on the fast evolving new psychoactive substances situation. All the above developments may have an impact on our local supply and demand situation," said Mr Ng.