Latest news on synthetic drugs - February 2017

Feb 2017 – Japan: More than 1 ton of methamphetamine seized in 2016

Tokyo, Japan: Japan continues to be targeted by expanding transnational drug trafficking networks, in particular those based in Asia. According to media reports, more than 1 ton of methamphetamine was seized in Japan in 2016, the second largest amount on record reported from the country. Several large quantities of methamphetamine seizure cases, including a seizure of 600 kg of methamphetamine originating from Taiwan Province of China in May 2016, have led to the spike in the amount of methamphetamine seized in 2016.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

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February 2017 – Singapore: Government of Singapore has released the latest drug situation report

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) of Singapore has released a report that overviews the country’s drug situation in 2016. According to the report, a total of 3,243 drug users were arrested in 2016, 3 % decrease compared to 2015 (3,343 arrestees). However, the number of drug users arrested for the first time in the country increased by 3% from 1,309 in 2015 to 1,347 in 2016, of which about two-thirds of them were below 30 years old. Data from the report indicate that methamphetamine is the most preferred choice of drug among people arrested for drug use. Among 1,347 drug users arrested for the first time, nearly 80% (1,068 arrestees) used methamphetamine while heroin only accounted for 5% (70 arrestees) of the total.

Photo copyright ©: CNB, Singapore

Seizures of crystalline methamphetamine in 2016 amounted to 18.3 kg, increased by 17% compared to 2015 (15.6 kg).

Source: CNB, Singapore

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Feb 2017 – New Zealand: Customs stops 1.2 tons of methamphetamine

Auckland, New Zealand: The New Zealand Customs Service has announced that a total of 413 kg of methamphetamine, together with 1.1 tons of methamphetamine-related precursor chemicals, were seized in 2016 at the border. The amount of methamphetamine seized at the border in 2016 (413 kg) is more than one and a half times of the amount seized in 2015 (283 kg), five times more than 2014 (82 kg), and 20 times more than that of 2013 (21 kg).

Source: New Zealand Customs Service

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February 2017 – UNODC: Updated synthetic drug trend chapters for the Mekong countries

The UNODC Global SMART team has updated national synthetic drug trend chapters for the 6 Mekong countries, namely Cambodia, China, including Hong Kong (China), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. Prepared with official sources received from the Governments, the chapters provide recent developments of the synthetic drug markets in the counties.

Some of key findings include:

· Cambodia: The total number of arrests for drug-related offences in the country increased approximately eighteen-fold from 394 persons in 2008 to 7,008 persons in 2015, largely driven by synthetic drugs;
· China: Over 80% of newly registered drug users (531,000) in 2015 were using synthetic drugs, indicating that synthetic drugs may have replaced opiates as the primary drug group of concern in the country;
· Lao PDR: At almost 142 kg, the total amount of crystalline methamphetamine seized in the country in 2015 was the highest ever reported for Lao PDR;
· Myanmar: In 2015, driven by large single incidents, seizures of both methamphetamine pill and crystalline form reached a record high;
· Thailand: Thailand reported the emergence of mephedrone, ethylone, dimethylone, XLR-11, TFMPP, butylone, and flephedron in recent years; and
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Lao PDR:
Viet Nam:

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