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Official claims drug use in Macao is ‘not serious’

Authorities say that there were just 61 registered users during the first half of the year, but the regular apprehension of drug traffickers suggests the actual number of users is far higher.

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Authorities say that there were just 61 registered users during the first half of the year, but the regular apprehension of drug traffickers suggests the actual number of users is far higher.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:07 pm

Drug use in Macao has increased by more than 10 percent in the first half of this year, according to official figures, but the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) believes that SAR does not have a problem with drug abuse, the Macau Post Daily reports.

The claim comes in spite of the frequent reporting of drug offences in the media. Those apprehended are often transporting hauls worth hundreds of thousands of patacas in street value, suggesting that there is a strong demand for illicit drugs in the SAR.

Experts regularly estimate that only a small percentage of drug traffickers are caught.

In spite of that, the IAS’ Drug Abuse Prevention Division chief Tong Chan U said yesterday that drug abuse was “not serious” in Macao. Tong was speaking after a seminar at the University of Saint Joseph held by the Association of Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers of Macau (ARTM).

[See more: Study uncovers the link between trauma and addiction among domestic helpers]

According to official figures, just 61 people were registered as drug users between January and June. The data purportedly shows a dramatic decline in drug use, from 617 cases in 2015, to 231 in 2021, and just 85 across the whole of 2022 

The authorities say that about 80 percent of drug users are male. They tend to be aged between 35 and 40, and most started using drugs in their early twenties.

The most common illegal drugs used in Macao are ice (methamphetamine), cannabis and midazolam (an anaesthetic), Tong noted – citing information from the central registry of local drug users. 

 

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:07 pm

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