CNB monitoring drug cocktails in Southeast Asia, including 'Happy Water': Shanmugam

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Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is closely monitoring the emergence of new drug cocktails in Southeast Asia, including 'Happy Water'. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is closely monitoring the emergence of new drug cocktails in Southeast Asia, including 'Happy Water'. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

SINGAPORE — The authorities are keeping tabs on the emergence of new drugs in the region amid a reported rise in popularity of a cocktail of synthetic drugs known as 'Happy Water'.

In written reply to a parliamentary question on Monday (4 July), Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) "is closely monitoring the emergence of drug cocktails in Southeast Asia, including 'Happy Water' which is known to contain controlled drugs such as ketamine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine and prescription drugs such as diazepam and tramadol."

Last year, the anti-drug agency seized 'Happy Water' in the form of packets and bottles in separate occasions, he said.

CNB had also intercepted drugs concealed within food packaging on several other occasions.

Member of Parliament Christopher de Souza (Holland Bukit-Timah) had asked about measures in place to prevent drug cocktails, such as 'Happy Water', which are disguised as food products, from being trafficked and smuggled into Singapore.

In his reply, Shanmugam said drug trafficking syndicates constantly employ novel concealment methods.

"CNB will continue to work with its partner agencies to deter, detect and disrupt these drug smuggling activities... In addition, CNB will continue with its efforts to educate the public on drug-laced consumables that are disguised as food or drink products," the minister added.

In 2015, CNB seized 3.6kg of heroin packed in cabbages while earlier this year, the anti-drug agency found over 4kg of an assortment of drugs hidden in tampered milk tea sachets.

Surplus of synthetic drugs in region

'Happy Water' has reportedly been gaining popularity in the region in recent months with the cocktail allegedly being sold in entertainment venues in Thailand and Myanmar.

In late April, a suspect was arrested in Thailand for allegedly selling the cocktail in entertainment venues across Pattaya. And last month, authorities in Myanmar seized 497g of the cocktail in Yangon and arrested four suspects who allegedly sold the drug in bars and clubs.

In May, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) flagged concerns over the emergence of 'Happy Water' in a report on synthetic drugs in East and Southeast Asia.

"With the surplus of synthetic drugs in the region, over the years organised crime groups have combined various illicit substances and marketed them as new products to appeal to drug users. ‘Happy water’ is one such mixture," said the report.

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