BRUNEI was ranked fifth in terms of amphetamine abuse in East, South and Southeast Asia regions in 2008, according to a reported by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC).
According to the report there are round 0.3 per cent of Bruneian's aged between 15 to 64 that use amphetamines or synthetic drugs. Other Asian countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Hong Kong averaged 0.2 per cent, while the Republic of Korea averaged 0.1 per cent, India 0.02 per cent and Singapore 0.005 per cent.
Countries that have an acute problem with amphetamine abuse includes the Philippines at 6 per cent followed by Thailand at 0.8 per cent and other countries such as Laos at 0.7 per cent, Cambodia, Taiwan and Malaysia at 0.6 per cent. When it comes to other classes of drugs, the Sultanate posted 0.02 per cent use of cannabis in the same population bracket and 0.01 per cent use of opiates, the UNODC report stated.
Methylamphetamine, also known as syabu, remains the number one drug amongst users in the country, followed by cannabis according to the NCB. Also gaining in popularity are ketamine, erimin 5, diazepam substance and dextropmethorpham.
In 2007, 732 people were arrested for drug-related charges, compared to 451 in the previous year, with the majority aged above 30, but the relapse cases somewhat are being under control.
In August last year, the Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Dato Seri Paduka Eusoff Agaki Hj Ismail, called for more "intensive efforts" to curtail the production of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) in the Asean region following a warning by Southeast Asian anti-narcotics agencies of the growing abuse of a Amphetamine-Type Stimulants using readily available chemicals, including fertilisers.
He told delegates during the 29th Asean Senior Officials meeting on Drug Matters (ASOD) that Asean laws need to synergise as to allow more effective enforcement can be coordinated and carried out by all member countries. This is certainly in line with the Asean charter to eradicate the use of drugs.
Despite a decline in regional production in recent years, Asean is still regarded as a major source for ATS. The wide use and production of syabu and poses a particular challenge for drug enforcement agencies around the region.
Dato Eusoff Agaki said that local authorities have not come across "any evidence of a clandestine laboratory" in the Sultanate since it put in place measures to monitor movement of listed chemicals that can be used for production. (HHM1)
The Brunei Times
Sunday, January 11, 2009
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