Drug pushers a growing menace online

Drug pushers a growing menace online
Posed photo of a drug addict taking drug.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Online drug peddling here saw a significant jump last year - with an almost seven-fold increase in those arrested for buying drugs and related paraphernalia online, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) yesterday.

Presenting an overview of the local drug situation yesterday, the CNB revealed that online peddling numbers soared from 30 in 2015 to 201 last year.

Most of those arrested for buying drugs or drug-related paraphernalia online were between the ages of 20 and 39.

Photo: Central Narcotics Bureau, TNP Graphics

The CNB and the Singapore Police Force jointly conducted 19 island-wide operations targeting drug traffickers and abusers last year, reported The Straits Times.

The two agencies also teamed up with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in 1,920 operations at land, air, and sea checkpoints to intercept drugs entering the country.

Last week, a 28-year-old unemployed man, who ordered drugs online and got them mailed to him disguised as everyday items, was jailed five years and eight months, with 10 strokes of the cane.

His ruse was uncovered after an officer at the ICA parcel post section in Eunos Road checked an item addressed to him from the US marked "Stussy logo tank top", and found cannabis inside.

Addiction specialist, Dr Thomas Lee, of The Resilienz Clinic told The New Paper: "Some of these buyers purchase drugs online because they think they can get away with it.

"There's anonymity and supply would not be as limited as compared to a street dealer."

Nanyang Business School Adjunct Associate Professor Lynda Wee called the trend worrying.

"It shows that online space can be used by illegal dealers to source for customers.

"While I believe these people won't get away with it, the authorities should (deter) such acts by increasing checks and having stricter penalties," she said.

Another area of concern was that nearly two-thirds of new drug abusers arrested last year were under the age of 30, and those aged 20 to 29 continued to form the largest group of abusers, according to the CNB report.

The total street value of drugs seized last year was estimated at around $8 million, down slightly from $8.56m in 2015, said the release.

Methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis continued to be the most commonly abused drugs, with 99 per cent of abusers arrested having used at least one of the three.

The CNB said that drug syndicates and peddlers have taken advantage of the borderless nature of the Internet to conduct illegal drug activities.

CNB director Ng Ser Song said: "The regional and global drug situations are also of concern. For example methamphetamine seizures in East and South-east Asia almost quadrupled between 2009 and 2014.

"Amid such developments, the CNB remains committed in the fight against drugs."


This article was first published on Feb 14, 2017.
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