Confessions of former teen drug sellers

KUALA LUMPUR - He was only 13 when he started as a drug runner, selling Ice, or methamphetamine, to abusers.

Shockingly, Bobby (not his real name), who is now 18, told The New Paper on Wednesday that his supplier was none other than his father.

He also got Ice as a bonus from him.

The slim, tan-complexioned teenager is now one of 37 residents, who are aged between 16 and 60 years old, at the Breakthrough Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Selangor, Malaysia.

Its coordinator, Mr Samuel Krishnan, 48, said that more than half of them are former drug addicts.

In 2003, Mr Samuel co-founded the facility at Petaling Jaya, about an hour's drive from the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

He said that he has heard of drug runners who are as young as 12 years old.

Drug dealers tend to approach youngsters at places like playgrounds and other hangout places before tempting them with the lure of easy money, he said.

"Some of these kids are still in school while some are dropouts. Drug dealers like to recruit minors to prevent detection. These youngsters could make quite a lot of money selling and delivering drugs. They can earn up to RM100 (S$40) a day."

Separately, TNP also spoke to a former Singaporean drug abuser who used to work in KL for five years.

Leo (not his real name), 41, said that drugs there were just a phone call away and dealers are known to operate in clubs and parties like the Future Music Festival Asia, held at KL's Bukit Jalil Stadium last week.

Speaking in a mix of Malay and Mandarin, Bobby, who dropped out of school when he was just 10, said that he had seen his father smoking Ice at home since he was very young.

After stopping school, the teen started mixing with youngsters in the neighbourhood who consumed the drug.

He gave it a try and was soon hooked, smoking it almost every day.

When he reached 13, his father gave him drugs to sell and paid him RM1,000 a month for his effort.

"People would phone my father and he would ask me to deliver to them.

"I would hop on a motorcycle and go to wherever they were, usually in public places. I don't know if they were Singaporeans," said Bobby.

He usually delivered drugs to more than 10 customers a day and they could spend up to RM1,000 each. But he was ambushed by the authorities three years ago and had to spend three days in the lock-up. Luckily, his uncle got him out.

Even though he stopped being a drug runner after that, he still continued abusing Ice and stopped the habit only in November last year.

"My mother is very concerned for me and she was the one who advised me to get my act together. I've been clean for months now and I intend to keep it that way," said Bobby.

His father is in jail serving a long sentence for drug-related offences.

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Like Bobby, another resident at Breakthrough Drug Rehabilitation Centre also used to sell drugs to addicts when he was a minor.

Jack (not his real name), 35, said that he experimented with cannabis about 20 years ago due to peer pressure.

About six months later, he was introduced to Ecstasy in a club. He started selling the drug at nightspots when he was about 16 years old.

He said : "I looked mature for my age and could enter such places easily. Nobody checked my identification.

"I would buy 50 pills for about RM20 to RM25 each and resell them to clubbers for RM35. It was easy money."

Jack, who admitted that he also used to abuse heroin, started consuming Ice in 2000. He said: "I wanted to quit heroin and thought that Ice could help me do so. It was an extremely bad decision. I was soon hooked on it."

Between 1998 and 2012, he was arrested three times for drug-related offences but was never jailed.

But he was given probation for heroin consumption two years ago.

Later that year, it hit him that he had spent most of his life under the influence of drugs and had wasted the best years of his youth.

"I kept getting into trouble. My parents are also getting older and I don't want to disappoint them anymore," he said.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Zaihan Mohamed Yusof


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