Singapore Grapples with Rising Drug Abuse Among Youth as Rehab Numbers Soar

Singapore faces a growing drug abuse problem, particularly among youth, with the highest number of inmates in drug rehab centers since 2008. Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach to curb the spread and provide support for those struggling with addiction.

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Singapore Grapples with Rising Drug Abuse Among Youth as Rehab Numbers Soar

Singapore Grapples with Rising Drug Abuse Among Youth as Rehab Numbers Soar

Singapore is facing a growing problem of drug abuse, particularly among its youth, as the number of inmates in drug rehabilitation centers reaches its highest level since 2008. The arrest of a repeat drug offender who started misusing cough mixture at the age of 14 has brought the issue into sharp focus.

Rahmat, now 33, has been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers due to his addiction, which began with cough syrup and escalated to other illicit substances like Ecstasy and methamphetamine. His story is not unique, as 27% of all drug abusers arrested in 2023 were below 30 years old, highlighting the alarming trend of young people falling victim to drug abuse.

Other repeat offenders, such as Siva and Kelvin, also started using drugs at a young age, often influenced by their peers and the ease of obtaining drugs online. The accessibility of drugs through online channels has contributed to the rise in young drug abusers, with platforms like Telegram providing a convenient means for individuals to obtain controlled substances without a prescription.

Why this matters: The increasing prevalence of drug abuse among Singapore's youth has far-reaching consequences for society, as it not only affects the individuals involved but also their families and communities. Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach that includes prevention, education, and rehabilitation efforts to curb the spread of drug abuse and provide support for those struggling with addiction.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has expressed concern over the growing number of young drug abusers and the proliferation of new psychoactive substances (NPS). The ease of modifying the chemical structures of NPS has made it challenging for authorities to detect and regulate these substances. The CNB has emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to tackle the drug problem, including public education and early intervention.

In response to the rising numbers, the government has taken steps to address the issue, including amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2019 that aimed to take a more calibrated approach to dealing with drug offenders. However, experts stress the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the need for stricter regulations on the sale and distribution of controlled substances online.

"The number of inmates in drug rehabilitation centers in Singapore is the highest since 2008, following amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2019 that aimed to take a more calibrated approach to dealing with drug offenders," a CNB spokesperson stated. The bureau remains committed to combating drug abuse and working with stakeholders to develop effective strategies to address this growing concern.

Key Takeaways

  • Singapore faces rising drug abuse, especially among youth, with highest DRC numbers since 2008.
  • Repeat offenders like Rahmat, Siva, and Kelvin started drug use at young ages, often online.
  • 27% of drug abusers arrested in 2023 were under 30, highlighting the alarming trend.
  • Authorities aim to tackle issue through prevention, education, and rehabilitation efforts.
  • Experts stress need to address prescription drug abuse and regulate online controlled substance sales.