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CNB: Surge in youth, women arrested for drug abuse in 2023

Central Narcotics Bureau reports alarming surge in 2023 drug arrests in Singapore, with 10% rise from previous year, particularly among youth and women. CNB director expresses deep concerns over emerging trends.



SINGAPORE: The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has reported a troubling surge in the number of drug-related arrests in 2023 showing an increase in the use of illegal substances among young individuals and women.

According to the latest data released by CNB on Wednesday, 14 February, there were 3,101 drug abusers arrested in 2023, marking a notable 10 per cent increase from the previous year’s figures at 2,868.

Director of CNB, Mr Sam Tee, expressed grave concerns over the emerging trends highlighted in the CNB’s Singapore Drug Situation Report 2023.

Mr Tee emphasized that while Singapore’s drug situation remains manageable, the rise in drug abuse among younger demographics is a “worrying trend.”

CNB highlights concerning trends in youth and female drug abuse

Among the concerning statistics revealed by CNB, it was noted that a significant portion of those arrested were below the age of 30.

129 of the apprehended individuals were below the age of 20, with the youngest being just 14 years old.

Mr Tee referenced the findings of the 2022 Health and Lifestyle Survey by the Institute of Mental Health, which reported a trend of drug abuse starting at a mean age of 15.9 years.

Additionally, he highlighted that a significant portion of drug consumption (41.8%) occurs within the confines of homes or friends’ residences.

In a statement, Mr Tee said: “We are very concerned that drug abuse seems to be starting at a much younger age… We are also seeing more female abusers.”

In total, 454 female drug abusers were arrested in 2023 compared with 408 in 2022.

Among the new abusers in 2023, 182 were female, compared with 171 in 2022.

Photo: CNB

The substances most commonly abused in Singapore continue to be methamphetamine, heroin, and cannabis. Methamphetamine abuse, in particular, constituted the largest proportion of new drug abusers, with 591 individuals arrested for its abuse in 2023.

The number of new cannabis abusers also saw an increase of 8 per cent from the previous year.

Furthermore, CNB disclosed that they had disbanded 25 drug syndicates throughout 2023, which encompassed syndicates operating via Telegram, and apprehended multiple traffickers.

CNB also confiscated a substantial quantity of narcotics, valued at approximately S$15.37 million based on market estimates.

Photo: CNB

CNB bolsters anti-drug efforts amid rising concerns

In response to these concerning trends, CNB has intensified its preventive drug education efforts in collaboration with various community partners.

Additionally, amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) were introduced in 2023, including new tiered penalties for possession of large quantities of controlled substances.

A new statutory framework for psychoactive substances is also set to be implemented in the first half of 2024.

Mr Tee reaffirmed CNB’s unwavering commitment to combatting drug abuse, emphasizing the importance of public support in this ongoing endeavor.

He stressed that while enforcement measures are crucial, education and community engagement play equally vital roles in curbing the proliferation of drugs within Singapore.

“CNB will be relentless in the fight against drugs. We will continue our preventive drug education and our tough enforcement stance. However, we cannot stem the tide alone but need the support of the public,” the CNB’s director said.

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No need act blur lah…it is your locals and only that kind still die die want to do drugs and vaping too!😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

Drug ah? Only one type still die die want to do this and vaping too!
Will the ex President instead of talking about Palestinians aka Hamas, please speak on this instead?😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣🤣

Didn’t the Yishun Minister say hanging the drug mules will reduce the amount of drugs coming into Singapore? What is he going to say next?