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 related to it.
- Ketamine use is indicated to have increased in 2013, according to government expert perception.
Overview of the drug situation
There have been no reports of illicit drug manufacture or attempts at manufacture in Brunei Darussalam. Most drugs continue to be trafficked into Brunei Darussalam from neighbouring countries, particularly Malaysia. According to arrest and treatment data, the vast majority (95%) of all drug users in the country in 2013 were crystalline methamphetamine users.1 Most crystalline methamphetamine users smoke the drug. Although crystalline methamphetamine remains the primary drug of concern, cannabis, ketamine and nimetazepam (Erimin-5) are also widely used. Ecstasy is not considered a problem in Brunei Darussalam.
Ketamine use has been a problem in Brunei Darussalam for a number of years and its use is indicated to have increased in 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 nimetazepam2) as a Class B controlled drug. In addition, mitragynine (kratom leaves) was classified as a Class D controlled drug.3 There have been no reports on the use of other new psychoactive substances.
Table 1. Trend in use of selected drugs in Brunei Darussalam, 2009-2013
The number of persons who underwent treatment for crystalline methamphetamine use increased by about 48%, from 145 persons in 2012 to 215 persons in 2013. Crystalline methamphetamine users accounted for about 96% of all persons in drug treatment in 2013, a similar proportion as in previous years. Methamphetamine users in drug treatment had an average age of 34 years.4
In 2013, a total of 2 kg of crystalline methamphetamine was seized in Brunei Darussalam in 181 individual cases. The amount seized is about 78% lower than in 2012, when 9 kg were seized (in 112 separate cases), the highest amount ever reported from the country. Crystalline methamphetamine seizure totals in previous years had never totaled more than 1 kg. No methamphetamine pills have been reported seized in the country since 2006.
Table 2. Seizures of selected drugs in Brunei Darussalam, 2009-2013
Most of the crystalline methamphetamine seized in Brunei Darussalam is trafficked from Malaysia by land, in small quantities for personal use. Most other illicit drugs are trafficked into Brunei Darussalam from neighbouring countries. Brunei Darussalam had not previously been identified as a transit location for illicit drugs and their precursor chemicals. However, in 2012, two large seizures seizures of crystalline methamphetamine from two air passenger couriers traveling from West Africa en route to Malaysia may indicate that Brunei Darussalam is being used as a transit country by West African drug trafficking groups to gain access to other markets in the region. Prior to these cases, there had been no reported involvement of transnational organized drug trafficking activity in Brunei Darussalam.