NCB: Everyday items being transformed into drug paraphernalia

National 2 minutes, 30 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

RECURRING episodes of theft and property damage may signal drug-related activities in the neighbourhood as users modify the stolen items into drug paraphernalia, a senior official at the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said yesterday.

Osmawi Osman, Assistant Director of NCB’s Preventive Drug Education Division, told The Brunei Times that NCB was aware of cases about drug addicts turned everyday objects into drug equipment. “When they (drug addicts) are frustrated, they will resort to violence and vandalism,” he said.

One everyday item currently primarily targeted by drug users is the fluorescent light’s starter (fuse). Osmawi said the NCB officers found samples of these starters which have been modified into drug paraphernalia during raids at houses where drug activities were reported.

“When there are a lot of (fluorescent lights) starters missing in public property, this means there are potential occurrence of drug-related activities in the area,“ he said.

NCB officer Mohd Shukri Hj Asri said drug addicts would creatively invent their own drug paraphernalia as these were not sold in shops. “They have found that the fluorescent light’s starter can be used as an instrument because the starter can be used to heat up syabu,” said Mohd Shukri.

Osmawi said that syabu (methamphetamine), remained as the most abused drug in the sultanate as well as in the Southeast Asian region.

One of the areas facing problems of damage to public property is Kampong Ayer, where many fluorescent lights at its jetties have been targeted by vandals and thieves, with residents claiming that stolen items were being used as drug paraphernalia.

A taxi boat operator, who declined to be named, said fluorescent light’s starters were stolen and were modified into homemade containers for syabu.

Another taxi boat operator calling himself Brahim said a new fluorescent light was installed recently at the jetty in Kg Bakut Pengiran Siraja Muda “B” after it was stolen.

Meanwhile, the village head of Kg Sungai Kebun, Hj Marali Hj Matzin, said he would always receive complaints from residents about vandals stealing lights’ fuses from the village jetty’s lights but did not say whether the reports indicated if the stolen items were being converted into drug paraphernalia.

The NCB has carried out numerous anti-drug activities over the years to ensure that the whole country is aware of the dangers of drug abuse, said Osmawi.

Early intervention through children’s education is the best way to instill anti-drug awareness, he said.

“We conducted 399 events on drug awareness for members of the public last year. We would hold around 56 lectures in government departments and private institutions such as schools and companies,” said Osmawi.

Although NCB could only target 10 to 15 per cent of the total population a year, he believes in the effectiveness in holding anti-drug campaigns in a smaller group.

“We are aiming to educate smaller groups of people through interaction and communication. I notice that our anti-drug message is much more effective when there is participation among the audience,” said Osmawi.

The Brunei Times