Over 60% of cannabis users caught in 2022 below 30 years old: CNB report

The total number of cannabis abusers arrested last year increased by 71 per cent from 2021.

Caleb Lau

Grew up a musician, found a calling in photography and writing. Still in love with all of them.

Published: 16 February 2023, 3:48 PM

The number of cannabis abusers arrested in Singapore increased by 71 per cent from 138 in 2021 to 236 in 2022, according to the Central Narcotics Bureau’s (CNB) Annual Statistics 2022 Report released on Wednesday (Feb 15).

Among them, 61 per cent were below 30 years old. The number of abusers below 20 years old also increased threefold from 8 in 2021 to 26 in 2022. 

Singapore, being in close proximity to the producing countries, is vulnerable to the inflow of cannabis, said CNB.

The situation is further exacerbated by the long-term trend of increasing tetrahydrocannabinol content, a psychoactive chemical substance in cannabis that causes abusers to feel ‘high’, in seized cannabis.

Local drug situation in 2022

CNB arrested a total of 2,812 drug abusers in 2022, a three per cent increase from 2,729 in 2021.

The number of repeat drug abusers arrested increased by 12 per cent from 1,793 in 2021 to 2,015 in 2022. In comparison, the number of new abusers arrested decreased by 15 per cent from 936 in 2021 to 797 in 2022. 

CNB said that 724 of these are under 30 years old, making up 26 per cent of all drug abusers arrested in 2022. 

The three most commonly abused drugs in 2022 were methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis, with 95 per cent of drug abusers arrested abusing at least one of them. 


In total, 1,445 methamphetamine abusers, 986 heroin abusers and 236 cannabis abusers were arrested in 2022. PHOTO CREDIT: ISAAC QUESADA VIA UNSPLASH


Among those below 20 years old, the number of methamphetamine abusers decreased by 51 per cent from 166 in 2021 to 81 in 2022.

For the new abusers, methamphetamine, cannabis and ‘Ecstasy’ were the most commonly abused drugs, with 90 per cent of new abusers arrested abusing at least one of the aforementioned drugs. 

The proportion of drug abusers by ethnic group in 2022 stayed similar to that of 2021, with Malays forming 47 per cent, followed by Chinese at 32 per cent, Indians at 18 per cent and other races at three per cent.

As for arrested new abusers, the ethnic proportions in 2022 changed minimally from 2021, with Chinese forming 43 per cent, followed by Malays at 36 per cent, Indians at 16 per cent and other races at five per cent.

Enforcement efforts to curb drug use

Preventive drug education continues to be the first line of defence in Singapore’s overall drug control strategy, said CNB.

Its many efforts in 2022 included the creation of anti-drug content like social media campaigns, augmented reality installations and student-led roadshows, working with students from Ministry of Education schools and Institutes of Higher Learning.

As part of regular drug reviews, a total of 16 new controlled substances were added to the First and Third Schedules to the Misuse of Drugs Act.


The Misuse of Drugs Act is the main legislation for drug offences, providing for the enforcement powers of CNB and penalties for various drug offences. PHOTO CREDIT: VOLODYMYR HRYSHCHENKO VIA UNSPLASH


Through public education, youths and members of the public can be equipped with the correct information on drugs, to make informed choices, embrace a drug-free lifestyle, and amplify the anti-drug message among their loved ones and peers, said CNB.

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