14% drop in drug abusers arrested last year: CNB

14% drop in drug abusers arrested last year: CNB

SINGAPORE - A total of 3,085 drug abusers were arrested last year, a decrease of 14 per cent from 2013, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in a statement today.

Of the drug abusers arrested in 2014, about a third, or 1,058 were new drug abusers, which represented an increase over 2013. About two-thirds of the new drug abusers were under 30 years old.

Commenting on the statistics, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said the recently formed Taskforce on Youth and Drugs will study the situation carefully before recommending appropriate measures to tackle the problem.

In total, drugs seized last year were estimated to be worth $8.14 million, about 60 per cent lower than in 2013.

However, seizures of cannabis, the third most commonly abused drug here, have increased by 125 per cent, from 15.57 kg in 2013 to 35 kg in 2014.

Heroin and methamphethamine (or 'Ice') remained the two most commonly abused drugs, with about 92 per cent of drug abusers arrested having consumed one or the other.

Mr Masagos called on the public not to be fooled by the marketing of drugs such as cannabis as "safe", "not addictive" or "less dangerous".

"Those who make these claims seek only to make profits, at the expense of healthy individuals and their loved ones," he added.

While the majority of drug abusers arrested abused one drug type, 15 per cent (or 467) offenders took more than one drug type.

CNB also said that it continued with its intensive enforment efforts, with 52 major operations last year, including 20 island-wide operations which took out 21 drug syndicates. The agency also conducted 1,747 operations at Singapore's checkpoints.

Mr Masagos stressed that Singapore adopts a zero tolerance policy against drugs.

"We urge parents, families and the community to play their part in the fight against drugs. However, the individual is ultimately responsible for his actions, and if he breaks the law, he will have to face the consequences," he said.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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