Growing drug scourge of new psychoactive substances

They are far more complicated to identify than conventional drugs, and health effects are unknown

Designer drugs seized by officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) during a raid in 2014.
Designer drugs seized by officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) during a raid in 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

Bartender Mabel used to mix more than just drinks. After her 9am to 10pm shift at a bar in a large hotel, then waitressing from 11pm to 3am, she would go home to shoot up cocktails of drugs that she concocted herself.

Now aged 50, she has tried them all. She started out with marijuana at 15, then sniffed glue and went on to heroin, methamphetamine (meth) and Subutex. In recent years, she created cocktails, mixing conventional substances such as meth (known by its street name Ice) or Dormicum with new psychoactive substances (NPS) like Mushroom, Pink Lady and Meilan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2019, with the headline 'Growing drug scourge of new psychoactive substances'. Subscribe