Ice, also known as methamphetamine, and heroin continue to be the two most popular drugs among new or first-time abusers, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
Of the 1,108 new abusers arrested last year, 62 per cent had abused methamphetamine, while 21 per cent abused heroin.
Last year, the bulk of the 1,227 arrested for abusing Ice came from the 20-to-29 age group. Mostly male, 599 of them were caught last year, as compared to 487 in 2012.
Said Ms Janicia Lim, a CNB spokesman: "Youths also have the misconception that methamphetamine is less addictive and harmful than heroin. They cannot be more wrong."
Aside from preventive drug education and engaging stakeholders like parents and teachers, "upstream intervention" is one of the key components in the fight against the drug scourge, said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli.
Mr Masagos said at the Ministry of Home Affairs Committee of Supply Debate 2014: "Our approach to the drug problem is a comprehensive one, comprising targeted prevention, strong enforcement and detection, upstream intervention for drug abusers, and supervision and rehabilitation to reduce re-offending... It is important that we address drug abuse upstream, which is why youths are a key target segment."
Later this year, a Community Rehabilitation Centre for youths, who are moderately at risk, will open its doors. The residential programme allows youths to continue their education and work in the day before returning for counselling or other activities
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