DRUG SITUATION REPORT 2004


Overview

The drug situation in Singapore remains well under control with further decline in the number of drug abusers arrested in 2004. Drug abusers arrested registered a sharp 47% decline as compared to 2003. The situation amongst new drug abusers has also improved with a 17% decrease in new abusers arrested. Relapse rate last year1 was 3.8%2 as compared to 13% for the previous year.

Last year, CNB mounted 48 major operations against drug traffickers and abusers, which resulted in the break up of 24 syndicated drug trafficking activities.

1Relapse rate for 2004 was computed based on the cohort of supervisees placed on urine supervision in 2003.
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 2004

The number of drug abusers arrested in 2004 was a record low in the last 20 years. The number of drug abusers arrested decreased sharply by 47% from 1,809 in 2003 to 955 in 2004.

The number of new abusers arrested has also declined. 604 new abusers were arrested in 2004, a 17% decline as compared to 2003.

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Local Abuser By Drug Type

Abusers by drug type in 2004

This chart shows the composition of abusers arrested in 2004 by drug type. Synthetic drug abusers have displaced heroin abusers in 2004 to form the majority of abusers arrested. Synthetic drugs include 'Ecstasy', methamphetamine and ketamine. Together, they made up 56% of the abuser arrested last year while heroin abusers formed only 12% of abusers arrested.

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Comparison of total abusers with 2003

Comparison of total abusers with 2003

This graph compares abusers by drug type with the year 2003. Heroin abusers fell by 80%. The sharp fall in heroin abusers had led to the overall decline in abusers arrested, and also the shift in the proportion of drug type consumed.

While synthetic drug abusers formed the majority of abusers arrested in 2004, the local synthetic drug situation had not worsened. The number of synthetic drug abusers arrested in 2004 declined significantly by 46% from 980 arrested in 2003 to 532 arrested last year.

Individually, the number of methamphetamine abusers declined by 66% from 369 to 125, ketamine abusers declined by 38% from 497 to 306 and 'Ecstasy' abusers declined by 11% from 114 to 101.

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New Abusers by Drug Type

New abusers by drug type in 2004

Amongst new abusers, 64% of new abusers arrested in 2004 took synthetic drugs. New heroin abusers formed only 3% of new abusers arrested.

Since CNB introduced the testing for the consumption of nimetazepam in January 2004, 191 nimetazepam abusers were arrested of which 60% were new abusers and they formed 19% of the new abusers arrested.

Cocaine is the other new drug that appeared in the local drug scene in 2004. Last year, CNB arrested four local cocaine abusers and all of them are new drug abusers.

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Comparison of new abusers with 2003

Comparison of new abusers with 2003

New abusers across all drug types decline as compared to 2003. New heroin abusers declined by 76%, new cannabis abusers declined by 37% while new synthetic drug abusers fell by 27%. However, among the new synthetic drug abusers only new 'Ecstasy' abusers showed a marginal increase of 13%.

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Ethnicity

Abusers by ethnic group in 2004

Drug abusers across all ethnic groups registered declines in 2004. The number of Chinese abusers exceeded the number of Malay abusers for the second year running to form the majority arrested at 72%.

New abusers by ethnic group in 2004

Amongst new abusers, the number of new Chinese abusers decreased slightly by 9% while the number of new Malay abusers and new Indian abusers fell by 33% and 38% respectively. New Chinese abusers formed 74% of new abusers arrested as compared to 67% in 2003 while new Malay abusers formed 17% as compared to 21% in 2003.

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Total and New abusers by Age Group

Abusers by age group in 2004

Drug abusers across all age groups registered declines in 2004. The age profile of abusers arrested last year is similar to 2003. Abusers in the 20 to 29 age group continue to form a larger percentage of abusers arrested.

Specifically, of the 955 abusers arrested last year, 44% were in the 20 to 29 age group followed by abusers in the 30 to 39 age group (see Chart 1).

Amongst new abusers, abusers in the 20 to 29 age group fell by 16% and formed 52% of new abusers arrested. New abusers in the 30 to 39 age group increase slightly by 11% to form the second largest group (see Chart 2). This resulted in a shift in the age profile of new abusers arrested in 2004. This is a reverse of the situation in 2003 in which abusers below 20 formed the second largest group arrested among the new abusers.

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Drug Seizures in 2004

There were not many significant seizures of drugs in 2004. Some of the larger seizures made last year were of methamphetamine ('Ya ba' tablets) and nimetazepam tablets.

Methamphetamine (or 'Ya ba') tablets

16,235 methamphetamine tablets were seized in 2004. This was lower than the 34,853 tablets seized in 2003. The largest single seizure of methamphetamine tablet was made in an operation in Mar 2004 whereby a total of about 9,900 tablets were seized.

Nimetazepam

CNB seized 156,922 nimetazepam tablets in 2004. This is the largest amount recorded since nimetazepam became a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1992. This significant amount is due to the three large single seizures made in 2004. The three seizures in 2004 are as follows:

  • 31,359 tablets in Feb
  • 24,702 tablets in Apr
  • 29,880 tablets in Aug

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Conclusion

The local drug situation remains well under control with a sharp 47% decline in the number of abusers arrested and a 17% decline in new abusers arrested. Both heroin abusers and synthetic drug abusers registered significant decline as compared to 2003.

Central Narcotics Bureau
February 2005

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Last updated: 26 Oct 2017