Emerging trends and concerns
- Heroin and crystalline methamphetamine remain the two most commonly used drugs in Singapore. However, recent data indicate that crystalline methamphetamine might have replaced heroin as the most widely used drug in the country.
- According to recent data on first-time drug-related arrestees, in Singapore, methamphetamine is the most frequently reported substance , accounting for approximately 80% of all cases.
- International drug trafficking organizations continue to target Singapore as a transit location for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) into the region, even though there are some indications that Singapore might have become a less preferred transit route by drug trafficking groups in recent years.
- A growing number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been found in tablets sold as “ecstasy”1 in Singapore in recent years.
Overview of the drug situation
Heroin and methamphetamine remain the two most commonly used drugs in Singapore. In 2015, a total of 3,343 drug users were arrested in the country, of which 1,858 persons (56%) used methamphetamine and 1,253 (37%) persons used heroin. During the last five years, the number of arrestees for methamphetamine use in Singapore increased by approximately 60% while the number for heroin decreased by 35%. Although drug-related arrests are not a direct indicator of prevalence of use, this could indicate that methamphetamine is replacing heroin as the most widely used drug in the country (see figure 1). In addition, crystalline methamphetamine continued to be the most commonly used drug (70%) among all drug users arrested for the first time in 2015. According to preliminary figures from national authorities, nearly 80% (1,068 persons) of all drug users arrested for the first time (1,347 persons) used methamphetamine in 2016. Use of methamphetamine in tablet form and “ecstasy” are not indicated to be a significant problem in Singapore.
Figure 1. Drug users arrested for heroin and methamphetamine, 2011 – 2015