SINGAPORE - Methamphetamine, also known by its street name Ice, is the drug of choice among new abusers here, according to statistics released by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on Thursday.
In the first half of 2014, two-thirds of new abusers used Ice, followed by heroin (15 per cent) and cannabis (13 per cent). Overall seizures of Ice have fallen from 22.5kg to 8.7kg, compared to the same period last year. However, seizures of Ice meant for the local market have risen from 4.8kg to 5.3kg.
Heroin and Ice remain the two most commonly abused drugs here, accounting for 92 per cent of abuse arrests between January and June this year. Cannabis is the third most popular drug here, with 5 per cent of abusers caught using it.
"The legalisation of cannabis in some jurisdictions reinforces the impression that these drugs are 'less dangerous'. These are gross misunderstandings. There is no such thing as a soft drug," said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli in a statement. "Singapore adopts a zero tolerance policy against drugs."
He noted that fewer drug arrests were made this year, a 19 per cent decrease from the same period last year, from 1,893 to 1,524. Most of those arrested were repeat abusers.
Less drugs were seized this year, the estimated street value of the drugs seized amounting to about $4.71 million, just half of what was seized in the first six months of 2013.
But there is still much work to be done, Mr Masagos noted.
"Globally, new psychoactive substances, which are chemically modified substances that mimic the effects of controlled drugs, are beginning to flood the market."
CNB will continue to engage youths and the general public on the dangers of drug abuse. So far this year, two-thirds of new drug abusers arrested were younger than 30. This is a slight increase from the first half of 2013.