73% of new drug abusers arrested in 2019 are meth users

Some of the 1kg of methamphetamine drug, also known as Ice, seized by the Central Narcotics Bureau on Oct 27, 2011. PHOTO: CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU

SINGAPORE - Methamphetamine (meth) continues to be the most common drug used among new abusers in Singapore, the latest Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) statistics report showed.

According to the report, meth abusers accounted for 73 per cent of new drug abusers arrested by the CNB in 2019.

Meth also remains the most common drug used among repeat abusers. In 2019, 63 per cent of all drug abusers arrested were meth abusers.

The amount of crystalline meth, also known as "Ice", seized by the CNB has increased by 60.9 per cent from 19.33kg in 2018 to 31.1kg in 2019.

Citing findings by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the CNB noted that South-east Asia has emerged as the world's fastest-growing meth market, with meth production in Myanmar increasing in recent years.

According to a UNODC report, the illicit meth market in South-east Asia and the wider Asia Pacific region is now estimated to be worth between US$30.3 billion and US$61.4 billion (S$42 billion and S$85 billion) annually.

The CNB also noted the latest available data from UNODC, which showed that about 120 tonnes of crystalline and tablet meth were seized in 2018.

This is a 42 per cent increase from the 82 tonnes of meth seized in 2017.

The CNB said Singapore, as part of South-east Asia, is vulnerable to transnational organised criminal groups, such as drug syndicates.

Cross-border anti-drug collaboration with the CNB's regional counterparts is therefore crucial, it stressed.

It stated that it conducted 20 joint operations and investigations with its international counterparts in 2019.

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