CNB's new short film on perils of drug trafficking targets S'pore's youth

SINGAPORE - Dressed in a white gown and adorned with shining, shimmering jewels, a young woman sits on a sterling-coloured armchair - a fitting throne for the White Queen in Lewis Carroll's books.

Turning to the camera, she speaks: "She is cunning, ruthless and charismatic... A magnificent huntress who knows exactly where to find her prey."

A butler's silhouette can be seen in the background, a servant always at the beck and call of the young woman, whose beautifully furnished house displays all the trappings of wealth.

Cut, and a new scene: The woman is now delivering a package to four nervous customers at their flat door.

She tells them to be discreet and to keep the windows closed, before offering them a "freebie".

It is the drug crystal methamphetamine - also known as "Ice" - which the woman, a drug dealer, never indulges in but unscrupulously uses to ensnare her victims.

The short film, titled Down The Rabbit Hole, is the Central Narcotics Bureau's (CNB) latest project to educate the public about the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking.

"The film tries to make the point that drug abusers are not only victims of their addiction to drugs, but also victims of the drug dealers, who only care about making money out of the abusers' addiction," said a CNB spokesman in a statement to The Straits Times.

Starring local actress Jasmine Sim, the film is centred around a money-minded drug dealer who takes the audience through the tricks of her trade in a whimsical, fairy-tale-like setting, as she peddles crystal meth.

Ice was one of the three most commonly abused drugs last year, according to statistics from CNB. There was also a 45.7 per cent increase in the amount of the drug seized by the CNB from 2019 to 2020, with almost 45kg seized last year compared with 30.8kg in 2019.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, methamphetamine is a Class A drug, and possession or consumption of the drug can lead to a penalty of up to 10 years' jail, or a $20,000 fine, or both.

Last year, while there were fewer arrests over drug offences, a high proportion still involved new abusers and offenders younger than 30, according to a CNB report.

In April this year, CNB seized more than 40kg of drugs worth over $2.3 million, including quantities of cannabis and heroin that were the largest since 1996 and 2001 respectively.

CNB also pointed out that the increasingly liberal attitudes towards cannabis among the youth was alarming.

A 2018 survey conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs found that only 68 per cent of young people thought cannabis is harmful, compared with 84 per cent of those above 30.

CNB continues its preventive drug education efforts, particularly in the areas of drug trafficking, abuse and their harms.

In that vein, Down The Rabbit Hole aims to "remind the public that drug dealers are only interested in cold, hard profits at the expense of individual lives, their families and society at large", said the CNB spokesman.

The film was made in collaboration with film and video production agency Big 3 Media. It borrows narrative elements from the classic tale of Alice In Wonderland, alluding to characters such as the White Queen and the Mad Hatter.

Down The Rabbit Hole is available on CNB's Instagram, Facebook and YouTube pages, along with a number of other short films produced by CNB.