More going abroad for drug fix

More going abroad for drug fix

The club's dance floor was filled with partygoers, some of whom were lying in pools of vomit, too drugged to notice.

In the karaoke rooms, tables were turned into display counters for a host of party drugs, including Ecstasy and ketamine - all for sale. All Lynne had to do was pick her poison, pay, then shoot up for another temporary high.

The next day, a short trip across the Causeway brings her home to Singapore. The club, after all, was in Johor.

Since being sentenced to five years in jail for trafficking ketamine, 29-year-old Lynne, now an administrative assistant, has cleaned up.

But more Singaporeans are going abroad - to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and even Japan - for an easy fix, say social workers and drug addiction counsellors. This is despite the threat of being caught when they pass through Customs on returning to Singapore.

"Over there nobody knows you, and it's also cheaper," said counsellor Janet Wee, who works at the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association.

In the last two years, drug abusers here have been getting younger and more affluent, said Ms Wee. "It is becoming more common to see young executives organise drug parties abroad - they can be lawyers, doctors, businessmen."

Last month, 26-year-old Chua Wen Hu died in Jakarta from a suspected drug-related incident after attending a trance music performance.

The same weekend, two 27-year-old Singaporeans were arrested on drug charges by Kuala Lumpur police during a music event at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. A further 11 Singaporeans were hospitalised after taking drugs. And six Malaysians died.

The news did not come as a surprise for Lynne and three other former addicts The Sunday Times spoke to.

"They have everything there in Malaysia, you can just ask them, and they will offer you," said Lynne, who experimented with ketamine when she was 13, after "some friends told me if I took it, I could dance a lot and get happy".

"You can choose any brand you want and pay as little as RM8 (S$3) for one Ecstasy pill which in Singapore can cost 10 times as much. Even if you get caught, you can bribe the police," she said.

Pushers in Malaysia tend to market drugs adulterated with glass powder, and even rat poison, to raise their profits, the four former addicts told The Sunday Times. They suspect poorly mixed drugs could be behind the recent deaths.

"There are a lot of such cases in Malaysia and we know what is happening, we know the risks, but when you are young you just want to enjoy yourself," said Ann, who is now 42 and unemployed.

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