Youth still form bulk of new drug abusers
The number of new drug abusers in this age group has also been steadily climbing, from 276 in 2007 to 516 in 2010. -myp
Those aged between 20 and 29 still made up the the majority of new drug abusers arrested in the first six months of this year, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
In its mid-year report released yesterday, CNB said that the group made up 52 per cent, or 281, of such arrests - a slight increase from the 277 arrested in the same period last year.
In 2010, the age group made up 39 per cent of all new drug abusers arrested for the whole year.
The number of new drug abusers in this age group has also been steadily climbing, from 276 for the whole of 2007, to 516 for the whole of 2010.
CNB attributed this growth to the liberal attitudes of the young towards drug abuse. The group may also be more "susceptible to the strong contaminating influence posed by experienced abusers".
CNB said arrests for those aged below 20 declined in the first half of the year by 44.7 per cent, from 132 to 73.
While more illegal drugs were seized in the first half - about S$9.3 million worth, compared to S$7.8 million in the same period last year - the total number of drug abusers as well as new abusers arrested fell slightly.
A total of 1,712 drug abusers was nabbed in the first half of the year, down 2.5 per cent from 1,756 in the same period last year. The total number of new drug abusers arrested also fell 9.4 per cent, from 593 to 537.
In the report, CNB highlighted that heroin and methamphetamine, or "Ice", continue to be the two most commonly abused drugs. Abusers of these drugs formed 93 per cent of the total number of drug abusers arrested in the first half of the year.
Of the new abusers arrested in the first half of the year, 87.7 per cent abused either of the two drugs.
Ice has been increasing in popularity because of a misconception that it is less addictive than other drugs such as heroin, said CNB.
The report also said that the number of inhalant abusers arrested dropped to 60 in the first half of this year, from 95 in the same period last year.
The amount of Ice seized saw a big jump of 137 per cent, hitting about 9.5kg in the first half of this year, compared to 4kg in the same period last year.
There was a 465 per cent rise in the seizure of Subutex, from 23 tablets to 130 tablets.
The number of Chinese and Indian drug abusers arrested fell by 14.9 per cent and 6.4 per cent, respectively, in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.
Conversely, the number of Malay drug abusers arrested increased by 6.8 per cent, from 839 to 896.
While 30 major operations were conducted in the first half of this year, CNB said the drug situation "remains challenging", against the backdrop of increasing drug seizures, a worsening regional drug situation and as many as 2,000 repeat drug abusers expected to be released this year and next year.
Separately, 43 drug offenders were nabbed in two joint operations involving CNB and the police on Tuesday and Wednesday.
About 195g of cannabis and two straws of heroin - weighing a total of about 1g - were seized in the first operation, while about 80g of heroin and 18g of Ice were seized in the second operation.
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