Emerging trends and concerns
- Crystalline methamphetamine remains the primary drug of concern in Brunei Darussalam with a large majority of drug-related arrests and treatment admissions involving the drug.
- The number of drug-related arrests made at border checkpoints in Brunei Darussalam has increased in recent years.
- Ketamine use is indicated to have increased in Brunei Darussalam in recent years.
Overview of the drug situation
Crystalline methamphetamine is the primary drug of concern in Brunei Darussalam followed by cannabis. According to arrest and treatment data, the vast majority (94%) of all drug users in the country in 2014 and 2015 used crystalline methamphetamine. Although crystalline methamphetamine remains the primary drug of concern, cannabis, ketamine and nimetazepam (sold under the street name “Erimin-5”), are also widely used. “Ecstasy” is not considered to be a drug of concern in Brunei Darussalam. However, national authorities have reported increases in use of “ecstasy” over the last two years.
Table 1. Trend in use of selected drugs in Brunei Darussalam, 2011-2015*
The number of persons who underwent treatment for crystalline methamphetamine use decreased by about (47%), from 188 persons in 2014 to (99) persons in 2015. Crystalline methamphetamine users accounted for about 94 % of all persons in drug treatment in 2015, a similar proportion compared to previous years, and 95% of them were male.
Annual crystalline methamphetamine seizures in Brunei Darussalam, which are low level compared to other countries in the region, did not show a clear trend in recent years. Steep year on year changes are sometimes due to the seizure of large transit shipments, such as in 2012, when national authorities seized a total of 8.2 kg of crystalline methamphetamine from two cases, in which Brunei Darussalam was used as a transit for onward trafficking to Malaysia. Preliminary figures reported from national authorities indicate that approximately 0.7 kg of crystalline methamphetamine were seized in 2016. No methamphetamine tablet seizures have been reported in the country since 2006.
There have been no reports of illicit drug manufacture or attempted manufacture in Brunei Darussalam. Most drugs continue to be trafficked into Brunei Darussalam from neighbouring countries. In recent years, there are indications that drug trafficking groups have been increasingly targeting Brunei Darussalam. For instance, the number of arrests for various drug related offences made at border checkpoints has increased in recent years, from 30 in 2012 to 75 in 2016. Of the 7 border check points in Brunei Darussalam, the Sungai Tujoh Control point, a border between Belait District, Brunei Darussalam and Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, has made the majority of arrests, accounting for more than half of all the drug related arrests made at border checkpoints between 2012 and 2016.
Table 2. Seizures of selected drugs in Brunei Darussalam, 2011-2015
Ketamine use has been a problem in Brunei Darussalam for a number of years and its use is indicated to have increased for three consecutive years since 2013, according to government expert perception. In February 2012, amendments made to the Misuse of Drugs Act included the reclassification of ketamine (as well as codeine and nimetazepam) to a stricter Class B controlled drug and mitragynine, a substance contained in kratom leaves, was introduced into the Act as a Class D controlled drug., There have been no reports on the use of other new psychoactive substances.
There was no significant change in the purity level of crystalline methamphetamine analysed in Brunei Darussalam in the past two years. In 2015, 155 out of 156 crystalline methamphetamine samples analysed in Brunei Darussalam had a purity level higher than 70%. In 2015, the average retail price of 1 gram of crystalline methamphetamine in Brunei Darussalam was estimated at approximately USD 145, similar to that of last year.