Increase in number of drug abusers below the age of 30
Portal and framework launched to help tackle related problems
Nearly half of all drug abusers arrested last year were below the age of 30, an increase from previous years.
These young abusers were mostly better educated, with some holding good jobs and coming from middle or higher income families.
The Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee announced this at the biennial Conversations on Youth symposium yesterday.
About 700 participants from schools and government and law enforcement agencies, along with social workers, attended the event.
Mr Lee said online drug peddling was another problem, pointing out that the number of people arrested for buying drugs and drug-related paraphernalia online has increased from 30 in 2015 to 201 last year.
Most of those arrested were aged between 20 and 39 years and were typically tech-savvy individuals.
Singapore's first one-stop portal for youth cyber concerns, Help123, was launched at the symposium.
The portal will be able to link up young people, their family members and teachers with trained counsellors via web chat, phone or e-mail at www.help123.sg.
Youngsters grappling with challenges such as cyber bullying and excessive Internet use can turn to the platform for help.
Preventive work must be our first line of defence.Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee
It was initiated by the National Council of Social Service with telco SingTel as a strategic partner.
Help123 is run by Fei Yue Community Services and Touch Community Services.
Said Mr Lee: "The idea is that through Help123, individuals will have easier access to information on cyber issues, be better supported emotionally and have tighter link ups with existing community resources for follow-up intervention on specific needs and issues.
"Preventive work must be our first line of defence."
The National Youth Work Competency Framework was also launched, aiming to define the knowledge and skills required by youth workers to effectively perform their jobs, establish competency-based training and guide career progression.
A learning and development roadmap is being developed to help youth workers gain relevant skills.