Photo credit: PEXELS/PIXABAY

Average starting age of drug consumption in Singapore is 15.9 years old: IMH survey

Curiosity and peer influence were among the top reasons for starting drug consumption.

Chloe Tham

Chooses to watch the same three movies in rotation instead of catching a new one.

Published: 4 May 2023, 3:45 PM

Drug abusers in Singapore start consumption at the mean age of 15.9 years old, revealed a 2022 Health and Lifestyle Survey conducted by the Institute on Mental Health (IMH).

The survey results were revealed at the annual workplan seminar held by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on May 3 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Among 6,500 anonymous surveyors aged 15 to 65 years old, 0.7 per cent of the respondents had indicated that they had abused drugs in the last 12 months. This translates to 18,000 residents when multiplied across the population.

The results showed that 41.8 per cent of abusers started drug abuse before the age of 18.

The top reasons for starting consumption is due to curiosity (21.6 per cent), the belief that drugs would alleviate their problems (19.7 per cent) and from peer influence (11.9 per cent).

The locations for drug consumption are at home (30.1 per cent), at a friend’s home (19.1 per cent) and overseas (9.5 per cent).

The survey also found that abusers’ first illicit drugs include cannabis (51.9 per cent), followed by ecstasy (18.6 per cent), heroin (3.2 per cent) and methamphetamine (2.9 per cent).

Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, was in attendance at the seminar as the guest of honour.

“We are very concerned that drug abuse starts at such a young age, and at home, where young people should have parental supervision and be safe. Given the long-term impact of drug abuse, we need to do more to address this,” said Mr Teo.


Mr Teo Chee Hean delivering his opening speech at CNB’s Workplan Seminar on May 3. PHOTO CREDIT: CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU


“MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) needs the continuing support and help of the community, schools, and families. We need to respond collectively as a nation to be effective. We all have a part to play in educating our youth on the harms of drugs, correcting misinformation about drugs, and being firm anti-drug advocates within our own social circles,” he added.

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