Drug abuse drops 14%

March 27, 2023

The total number of reported drug abusers in 2022 fell 14% from 2021 to 5,235, the Action Committee Against Narcotics announced today.


According to the latest Central Registry of Drug Abuse figures, the number of reported drug abusers aged under 21 also declined by 19% to 718.


The most common substances taken among drug abusers in 2022 were heroin, cocaine and "ice" (methamphetamine), while people under 21 mostly took cannabis, cocaine and ketamine.


Cocaine became the most common psychotropic substance taken among drug abusers, overtaking "ice" for the first time in 10 years. According to a report published by the UN Office on Drugs & Crime in mid-March, coca cultivation surged by 35% between 2020 and 2021, while there is also an expansion of cocaine into non-traditional markets.


The action committee noted that the impact of the international supply of drugs on Hong Kong should be closely monitored, adding that the higher number of young people taking cannabis and cocaine warrants attention.

The number of people arrested for drug offences in 2022 dropped 14% to 4,005 compared with 2021. For the same period of comparison, the number of arrestees aged under 21 decreased by 29% to 483, with cannabis the main drug involved.


Meanwhile, as high as 83% of the people prosecuted for drug offences were convicted.


The committee's Chairman Donald Li noted that the resumption of social activities and travel presents new challenges to anti-drug work and the drug abuse figures in 2023 might rebound.


The change of policies against drugs in some regions overseas, especially the relaxation of control on cannabis, and drug dealers attempting to promote drugs as a trendy and stress-relieving product will have an impact on the public's alertness against drugs, Dr Li said.


The committee and the Security Bureau will enhance anti-drug efforts in collaboration with relevant departments in face of the challenges ahead, he added.


With large-scale entertainment events and social gatherings becoming more frequent as society resumes full normalcy, and with a long holiday approaching in April, the Government reminded the public to stay away from drugs and not carry unknown items for others.

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