Drug abusers arrested registered a marginal 1% decline as compared to 2001. The number of new drug abusers however increased 16%. Relapse rate last year1 was 18.4%2 as compared to 19.6% for the previous year.

Last year, CNB mounted 51 major operations against drug traffickers and abusers, which resulted in the breakup of 32 drug trafficking syndicates and seizures of significant quantities of illicit drugs.

1Relapse rate for 2002 was computed based on the cohort of supervisees placed on urine supervision in 2001.
2Computed based on the number of supervisees who relapsed in their first year of supervision divided by total cohort size.

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Local Abuser Arrested

Local Drug Abuser (Total and New) Arrested in 2003

The number of abusers arrested in the last two years are fairly consistent. 3,393 drug abusers were arrested in 2002. This is a marginal 1% decline as compared to 2001.

The number of abusers arrested has generally been on the decline since the peak in 1994. The number of drug abusers arrested has remained below 4,000 since 1999 and 3,500 since 2000.

While total abusers arrested declined marginally in 2002, more new abusers were arrested. 911 new abusers were arrested last year, a 16% increase as compared to the previous year and a five year high.

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Local Abuser By Drug Type

Abusers by drug type in 2002

This chart shows the composition of abusers arrested last year by drug type. While the majority of drug abusers arrested continue to abuse heroin, synthetic drug abusers made up 29% of abusers arrested last year. Synthetic drugs include 'Ecstasy', methamphetamine and ketamine. Prior to last year, heroin abusers had traditionally accounted for 78% to 80% of total abusers arrested each year.

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Comparison of total abusers with 2002

Comparison of total abusers with 2001

This graph compares abusers by drug type with the year 2001. Heroin abusers fell by 17%. The number of 'Ecstasy' abusers has declined consistently since 1999. 'Ecstasy' abusers fell by 35% last year.

Notwithstanding the improvement in the heroin and 'Ecstasy' abuse situation, the number of methamphetamine and ketamine abusers continue to increase.

The number of methamphetamine abusers arrested last year more than doubled the number arrested in 2001. From a composition of only 6% in 2000 and 8% in 2001, methamphetamine abusers formed 18% of the drug abusers arrested last year. Most of these abusers were in the 20 to 29 age group, followed by those in the 30 to 39 age group. Majority of the methamphetamine abusers were repeat drug abusers with previous conviction for drug consumption.

Ketamine abusers also increased significantly from 133 arrested in 2001 to 252 arrested last year and made up 8% of abusers arrested. A larger percentage of ketamine abusers were in the 20 to 24 age group, followed by those in the 15 to 19 age group. Majority of ketamine abusers arrested were new drug abusers without previous conviction for drug consumption of any drug type.

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New Abusers by Drug Type

new abusers by drug type in 2002

In terms of drug type, 57% of new abusers arrested last year took synthetic drugs, followed by 33% who abused heroin. Prior to last year, new heroin abusers had accounted for approximately 50% of new abusers arrested.

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Comparison of new abusers with 2001

Comparison of new abusers with 2001

New heroin and new 'Ecstasy' abusers fell by 20% and 41% respectively. The number of new methamphetamine abusers however, more than double the number arrested in 2001 while new ketamine abusers increased by 87%.

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Abusers by race in 2002

The number of Chinese abusers increased by 23% while the number of Malay and Indian abusers fell by 12% and 11% respectively. Malay abusers made up 44% of abusers arrested last year and the number arrested is the lowest recorded in the last five years.

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Total and New abusers by Age Group

Abusers by age group in 2002

There are no major changes in the age profile of abusers arrested in 2001 and 2002. 35% of abusers arrested in 2002 were in the 30 to 39 age group followed by 31% aged 40 and above. (see Chart 1).

For new abusers, 51% were in the 20 to 29 age group (see Chart 2). Abusers in this age group increased by 18% over 2001.

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Significant Drug Seizures in 2002

Significant seizures of various drugs were made last year, in particular, cannabis and methamphetamine ('Ya ba' tablets).


CNB seized 63 kg of heroin last year with a street value of approximately S$8 million.


CNB seized 34 kg of cannabis last year. This is the largest cannabis seizure recorded in the last five years. The significant seizure was due to a single large seizure of 19.5 kg seized in an operation conducted in Jan 02.

Methamphetamine (or 'Ya ba') tablets

Seizures of 'Ya ba' tablets were high in the last three years. 24,000 tablets were seized in 2000 and 20,000 tablets were seized in 2001. Last year, CNB seized 67,840 'Ya ba' tablets. At least 75% of the seizures or 50,000 of these tablets were seized from Thai nationals arrested at Changi Airport who tried to enter Singapore with the drugs hidden in their shoes.


Seizures of ketamine remained high. CNB seized 8.4kg of ketamine last year as compared to 1.7kg seized in 1999, 2.6kg seized in 2000 and 8.9kg seized in 2001.

The single largest seizure of ketamine was seized from a Singaporean who was arrested at Changi Airport. He had 1kg of ketamine and 7,000 ‘Ecstasy’ tablets strapped to his body and was heading for Tokyo.

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The local drug situation is stable and under control. The number of drug abusers arrested in 2001 and 2002 are fairly consistent. While total and new heroin abusers continue to decline, methamphetamine and ketamine abusers registered large increases last year.

Rigorous and effective enforcement remains a high priority and a critical factor in keeping the drug problem under control. At the same time, preventive drug education programmes focusing on synthetic drugs will be introduced to curb the abuse of these drugs

Central Narcotics Bureau
February 2003

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