Drug Abuse

From Social Collaborative Singapore
Jump to: navigation, search

Drug Abuse is defined as using drugs in such a way that they harm one's health, impair one's physical or mental functioning. or interfere with one's social life.

According to National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA)[[1]]Serious consequences of abuse can include severe acne, heart disease, liver problems, stroke, infectious diseases, depression, and suicide. Drug combinations. A particularly dangerous and common practice is the combining of two or more drugs.

Drugs that are psychoactive, such as cannabis, alcohol, ecstasy and heroin, have the ability to affect your mood. They can arouse certain emotions or dampen down others. This may be why you use them. The changes in your mood or behavior caused by drugs are the result of changes to your brain. Article from National Institutes of Health (NIH) highlights that drug abuse can cost mental health problems such as Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar disorder, ADHD and Antisocial personality disorder. Read the full article at[2]

Drug Statistics

Drug Situation Report 2016 from Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) of Singapore. Overview of Singapore's Drug Situation in 2016 [3]. CNB arrested a total of 3,265 drug abusers in 2016. This was a 2% decrease from the 3,343 drug abusers arrested in 2015. While the number of repeat drug abusers arrested decreased by 6%, from 2,034 in 2015 to 1,917 in 2016, the number of new drug abusers arrested increased by 3%, from 1,309 in 2015 to 1,348 last year. Close to two-thirds of new abusers arrested were under 30 years old.

The drugs seized in 2016 were estimated to have a street value of about $7.98 million. There was a 22% increase in cannabis seizures, from 44.29kg in 2015 to 54.01kg in 2016. Methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis continued to be the most commonly abused drugs. 99% of drug abusers arrested abused at least one of these three drugs. For new drug abusers, methamphetamine (79%) and cannabis (14%) continued to be the most commonly abused drugs.

In February 2021, CNB released the updated Drug Situation statistics for 2020[1]. The total number of drug abusers arrested has reduced to 3,014 in 2020. The number of new drug abusers arrested has also reduced to 1,143 in 2020.

However, there has since been a steady increase in the cases of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) abuse, creeping up to the third most commonly abused drug overall. For new abusers, NPS became the second most commonly abused drug, setting a worrying trend that has to be observed in the future. Similar to the 2016 statistics, majority of the new abusers and overall abusers arrested were below 30 years old.

Drug Classes

Singapore categorizes all drugs into 3 classes: Class A, B and C[2]. With each drug class and type, comes different limits as to the presumption of trafficking[3] as well as punishments on conviction[4]. In addition, Singapore also prosecutes the possession and sale of drug utensils[5].

Drug Abuse A Crime?

Hard Stance Towards Drug Abuse

For many conservative countries including Singapore, laws and enforcement are strict towards those who abuse, traffic and manufacture drugs. This is due to many empirical data linking drug abuse and crime rates of both violent and non-violent crime[6]. As such, countries who also have strong stances against crime would inevitably take a strong stance against drug abuse. Additional issues arising from drug abuse include break down of families, deaths due to overdoses or drug-turf wars in more serious cases, as well as an economic burden on the healthcare system.

Calls For Decriminalization

More recently, a new school of thought in the war on drugs has arose involving the decriminalization of drug abuse[7]. For many countries who relentlessly prosecute drug abusers, they face overcrowding prisons and consequently an economic burden once again to support the incarcerated individuals. In the case of Portugal who saw an influx of drugs in the 1970s following the opening of borders, they also experienced a sharp increase of drug abusers. After initially pursuing the more direct approach of harsh enforcement and penalties, they radically changed their approach, decriminalizing the consumption of all drugs in 2001.

There were a few reasons for this. In addition to the issue of overcrowding prisons, another issue firmly linked with drug abuse is the transmission of HIV[8]. This is due to the sharing of needles that is frequent practice among drug abusers, which in Singapore can be attributed to the prosecution of the possession of drug utensils, which make it hard for drug abusers to obtain clean and safe needles to use. In addition, decriminalization will allow drug abusers to seek medical and professional help without fear of punishment. This will increase the likelihood of recovery as compared to self-managed "cold turkey" treatment[9].

Drugs In The 21st Century

It has become easy for anyone to order items on the Internet and have them delivered by post or courier. Drug syndicates and peddlers have taken advantage of the borderless nature of the Internet to conduct illegal drug activities. The Dark Web has been a large contributing factor, due to the anonymity and inability to track people[10].

The number of people arrested for buying drugs and drug-related paraphernalia online increased significantly from 30 in 2015 to 201 last year. Most of those found to have obtained drugs or drug-related paraphernalia online were between the ages of 20 to 39. CNB will continue to work closely with its Home Team counterparts and strategic partners to build up its detection and enforcement capabilities against online drug trafficking activities.

Rehabilitative Interventions

Reintegration Into Society

  1. https://www.cnb.gov.sg/docs/default-source/drug-situation-report-documents/cnb-annual-statistics-2020.pdf
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20160402042812/http:/statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=ae8aabbd-aaae-4678-9761-08fb32231248;page=0;query=Id%3A%223f9aff0b-a3bd-41da-be16-66daab867d04%22%20Status%3Apublished%20%20TransactionTime%3A20151123000000;rec=0#Sc1-
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20160402141721/http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=cb66cb0d-6d06-4005-b979-0514242fe450;page=0;query=Id%3A%223f9aff0b-a3bd-41da-be16-66daab867d04%22%20Status%3Apublished%20%20TransactionTime%3A20151123000000;rec=0#pr17-he-.
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20160402082354/http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=d6202b6a-5e76-4b75-819a-1bb1839289ae;page=0;query=Id%3A%223f9aff0b-a3bd-41da-be16-66daab867d04%22%20Status%3Apublished%20%20TransactionTime%3A20151123000000;rec=0#Sc2-.
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20160402022324/http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=5c7622c4-6c08-42fd-aa6c-048d277d974d;page=0;query=Id%3A%223f9aff0b-a3bd-41da-be16-66daab867d04%22%20Status%3Apublished%20%20TransactionTime%3A20151123000000;rec=0#pr9-he-.
  6. https://www.incb.org/documents/Publications/AnnualReports/Thematic_chapters/English/AR_2003_E_Chapter_I.pdf
  7. https://time.com/longform/portugal-drug-use-decriminalization/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19799494/
  9. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
  10. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/the-dark-side-of-online-markets-for-buying-drugs