40% of all drug abusers arrested last year were under 30
The proportion of new drug abusers arrested last year remained high and close to two-thirds were under 30, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said yesterday.
While the number of drug abusers arrested fell from 3,265 in 2016 to 3,089 last year, about 40 per cent of them were new abusers. Of the 1,249 new abusers arrested, about 64 per cent were below the age of 30.
These concerning trends were highlighted by the CNB in an overview of the local drug situation.
While there was an overall improvement in the drug situation here, the 20 to 29 age range continued to form the largest group of abusers last year. About 40 per cent of all drug abusers arrested last year were under 30.
Overall, the number of repeat abusers arrested decreased by 4 per cent, from 1,917 in 2016 to 1,840 last year. The number of new abusers arrested also fell by 7 per cent, from 1,348 in 2016 to 1,249 last year.
The total street value of drugs seized last year was estimated at around $6.54 million, down from about $8 million in 2016.
Methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis continued to be the most commonly abused drugs, with 98 per cent of drug abusers arrested having used at least one. Among new abusers, methamphetamine and cannabis also continued to be the most commonly abused drugs.
Last year, to tackle the local drug situation, the CNB joined the Singapore Police Force to conduct 19 islandwide operations targeting traffickers and abusers. They also partnered the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in 1,661 operations at land, air and sea checkpoints to intercept drugs entering Singapore.
The CNB also conducted major operations that led to the crippling of 23 drug syndicates last year.
Results of the National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth and Public Perception Survey 2015/2016 found that a growing number of young people displayed more liberal attitudes towards drugs. The survey also revealed that 58 per cent of young people learnt about drug-related content via social media.
Last year, the CNB expanded its social media and youth community outreach efforts through the use of social media platforms to encourage a drug-free lifestyle. The bureau also used preventive drug toolkits, such as a parents' handbook about drug abuse, and mobile applications.
The CNB works with community groups and organisations in private, government and non-government sectors to raise awareness about the harmful nature of drugs.