Emerging drug abuse trends among the young, particularly those that see youths ordering drugs online and experimenting with narcotic substances while travelling overseas, are being closely watched by the Government, said Senior Minister of State (Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs) Masagos Zulkifli today (March 6).
The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will maintain tight enforcement amid a “rapidly evolving operating environment”, he added.
“We will intercept suspicious packages and prosecute those who conduct drug transactions online,” said Mr Masagos during the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Committee of Supply debate in Parliament.
While conducting checks at checkpoints and airports, the CNB has also taken action against individuals found to have consumed drugs overseas.
Following the deaths of several young adults from drug overdose at music events held in the region last year, Mr Masagos said the CNB was also keeping an eye on music events.
The Ministry of Home Affairs today rejected an appeal by the organisers of the Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) to hold the event in Singapore on March 13-14. The organisers had made the appeal after their applications for a permit were rejected twice, with the police citing serious concerns over potential drug abuse at the event.
CNB statistics showed that last year, two-thirds of new drug abusers arrested were below 30 years old. In 2013, those in the same age group made up half of new drug abusers.
Mr Masagos said the educational profile of youth abusers was also changing, with more of those arrested coming from institutes of higher learning. Over the past five years, the number of cannabis abusers have increased by 50 per cent, he added. Out of the 184 cannabis users arrested last year, a majority were under 30 years old.
Mr Masagos said new recommendations on how to more effectively tackle the problem among youths will be rolled out later this year.
The recommendations will be based on findings by the Taskforce on Youths and Drugs, and also build on existing approaches to combat the scourge, such as preventive drug education, effective enforcement and early, targeted intervention for youth abusers.
Mr Masago said Singapore must continue its zero-tolerace stance towards drugs, especially as regional networking has allowed drug syndicates to increase supply, thus making drugs cheaper.