Singapore’s comprehensive approach to tackling both drug supply and demand has allowed us to keep the drug situation under control, in spite of the challenging global and regional drug situation. This approach continues to receive strong public support, based on the Public Perception Survey on Singapore Anti-Drug Policies conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2018, where almost nine in 10 Singaporeans agreed that our drug laws are effective.
Regional developments, such as the increase in methamphetamine supply, can have adverse downstream implications on our drug situation. Globally, the new psychoactive substances (NPS) market continues to evolve and expand quickly. The push for drug liberalisation in some countries is a cause for concern. We must also not underestimate the impact of social media and mass media in spreading misinformation that normalises drug use, especially among our young.
Against this backdrop, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) remains steadfast in its mission for a drug-free Singapore. To this end, CNB conducted intensive enforcement operations in 2019, dismantling 28 drug syndicates. Working closely with other Home Team agencies, CNB also worked closely with other Home Team agencies, conducting around 1,400 operations across Singapore, including at our land, air and sea checkpoints to intercept drugs entering Singapore.
Our drug situation last year presented several concerns. The proportion of new drug abusers arrested remained high at 41%. The proportion of new drug abusers arrested under 30 years old remained significant at 62%. While there was a decrease in the number of heroin abusers arrested, there was an increase in those arrested for NPS and methamphetamine abuse.
Beyond enforcement, CNB continues to enhance preventive drug education (PDE) efforts as the first line of defence against drugs. In 2019, we used Augmented Reality technology to reach out to young people. We also ramped up outreach initiatives on social media and through schools, parents and our Anti-Drug Advocates. There were also concerted efforts to expand PDE outreach within the Indian community. Following the “Dadah Itu Haram” (DIH) campaign which has seen strong support from the Malay-Muslim community, the “Bothaiporulai Ethirthu Nirpom” (BEN) (or ‘We Stand United Against Drugs’) campaign was launched.
CNB continually reviews our anti-drug strategy to stay ahead of the evolving drug landscape. For example, on the legislative front, 31 new NPS were listed as Class A controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2019 to strengthen our enforcement efforts.
In Singapore, the fight against the scourge of drugs combines preventive drug education, tough laws and effective enforcement, strategic international engagement and evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation. The community can be a strong ally in this fight by spreading the anti-drug message to their own circles of influence. Together, we can keep our homes, streets and communities drug-free for our future generations.
Click here to view the full statistical report.
Click here for an overview of CNB’s Preventive Drug Education and community engagement efforts in Year 2019.