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Fewer drug abusers arrested in 2020, but 'worrying trends' remain: CNB

Fewer drug abusers arrested in 2020, but 'worrying trends' remain: CNB

Drugs seized by the Central Narcotics Bureau on a drug bust on Nov 11, 2020 had an estimated value of close to S$2 million. (Photo: Cheryl Lin)

SINGAPORE: The number of drug abusers arrested dropped in 2020, but several worrying trends continued to remain, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on Wednesday (Feb 3).

In its annual statistics release, the CNB noted that the number of drug abusers arrested last year fell by 15 per cent. A total of 3,014 drug abusers were arrested in 2020, compared to 3,526 in 2019.

This was "likely due to the reduced movement of travellers" across Singapore's borders which impacted both drug supply and demand, said CNB.

(Graphic: CNB)

However, the proportion of new drug abusers arrested remained high at 38 per cent of all abusers arrested - a total of 1,143 in 2020, compared to 1,460 in 2019. Of these, 713, or 62 per cent, were aged below 30.

There was also a 14 per cent increase in the number of drug abusers in the 60 and above age group to 232 in 2020, from 203 in 2019.

Of all drug abusers arrested, 1,232 were under 30 years old - forming 41 per cent of the total number arrested in 2020. Abusers in the 20 to 29 age group continued to form the largest group, with 932 arrested last year.

Total abusers by age. (Graphic: CNB)
New abusers by age. (Graphic: CNB)

READ: 'Novel methods' being used to smuggle drugs into Singapore amid COVID-19 restrictions - CNB

READ: 15kg of drugs worth S$2.3 million seized at Woodlands Checkpoint


Drug seizures also remained high in 2020, despite the decrease in the overall number of drug abusers arrested. The estimated street value of drugs seized by CNB in 2020 was about S$11.60 million.

Methamphetamine, heroin and NPS were the three most commonly abused drugs in 2020. 

Along with other Home Team agencies, CNB conducted more than 500 operations across Singapore in 2020 - including at the checkpoints to intercept attempts to smuggle drugs into the country. A total of 24 drug syndicates were also dismantled last year.

(Graphic: CNB)

READ: 87 drug suspects nabbed in island-wide operation, including 16-year-old; drugs worth S$400,000 seized

READ: CNB seizes drugs worth almost S$2 million, including largest single haul of heroin in nearly two decades

"Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, CNB has remained steadfast in its mission to keep Singapore drug-free, while also contributing to the national COVID-19 response," it said.

"Close to 100 CNB officers were involved, taking on duties that included contact-tracing, conducting checks on persons subject to stay-home notices, as well as in managing dormitory operations."

Source: CNA/ic