New exhibition, social media image to turn young people off drugs

SINGAPORE - The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has launched a new roving, anti-drug exhibition, and rebranded its social media platform in a bid to turn young people away from drugs.

On Saturday (Oct 8), it held a one-day road show at VivoCity, where it showcased its revamped "Drug Buster Academy Bus".

The bus uses augmented reality technology to show the impact of drug use on the body.

Visitors could have their faces scanned and digitally transformed to show what they would look like if hooked on drugs.

"Instead of just hearing of the harmful effects of drugs, the audience can actually take a look for themselves how exactly drugs harm the body," said CNB's director of communications Gillian Ong.

The CNB is hoping its "mobile, anti-drug exhibition bus" will help it drive home the anti-drug message to young people.

Saturday's (Oct 8) road show was attended by about 1,000 people.

Latest statistics show that more people under the age of 30 are getting hooked on drugs.

This group made up the bulk of the 729 new drug abusers arrested by the CNB in the first half of the year.

Of this number arrested, 485 were below the age of 30 - a demographic that has had an increase in arrests of about 9 per cent from the same period last year, when 446 new drug abusers under the age of 30 were arrested.

The Home Affairs Ministry has said it is concerned with growing liberal attitudes toward drugs.

But the CNB is hoping its new social media image would allow it to reach out to more people here.

Its social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, now use the moniker "CNB Drug Free SG".

"The youth are curious, so they would want to find out a lot more about what the effects of drugs are. So we also felt that through our social media platforms, and also through the bus, they can actually see for themselves," said Ms Ong.

Since July, the bus has been making about five visits per month to primary and secondary schools, as well as the Institute Technical Education.

It will continue to make the rounds at schools here for the rest of the year, said Ms Ong.

Ms Ong said what CNB hopes for young people who are offered drugs is that they "take a minute to stop and remember what they have seen on the bus, remember what they have seen on the posts, and then say no to the drugs being offered to them".