Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Asia

Brunei Darussalam


                        Extent of Drug Abuse

Codeine, either in the form of cough mixtures or tablets, and psychotropic substances, particularly benzodiazepines, are reported the most abused drugs in Brunei Darussalam. Cannabis and volatile solvents are also reported abused. Heroin and opium are also reported abused, though on a minor scale (U.N. 1992).

                       Abuser Characteristics

Drug abusers are reported to be mainly young males, students, unemployed, or employed in lower occupational categories (U.N. 1992).

                         Regional Variations

No regional variations in drug abuse are reported due to the limited geographical area of the country (U.N. 1992).


Although drug abuse in Brunei Darussalam is minor compared to other countries, it is reported as increasing. In 1992, heroin and cannabis abuse were reported as stable, while that of codeine and psychotropic substances (benzodiazepines) showed some increase (U.N. 1992). According to drug related arrests data, a steady increase in drug abuse among students and youth in general as well as among white collar clerical workers is reported for 1992 (Brunei 1993) .

                             Mode of intake

Intravenous drug abuse is reported insignificant in Brunei Darussalam. Drugs are either taken orally (codeine, psychotropic substances) or smoked (opium, cannabis). No information regarding the mode of intake of heroin is reported. Volatile solvents are reported inhaled (U.N. 1992).



Drug abuse is reported to cause disruption at school and work. Deaths related to drug abuse are not officially known and no drug related deaths were reported for 1992 (U.N. 1992).



                           National Strategy

A National Policy based on a coordinated strategy for the suppression of both the supply and demand for drugs has been formulated. The policy is based on actions in three main areas: the reduction of supply of drugs through emphasis on drug law enforcement, the reduction of demand through effective preventive measures and the continuous upgrading of specialist knowledge to support these two actions (Brunei 1993).

            The National Committee on Drug Abuse, set up in 1985, is responsible for formulating the National Policy and the Narcotics Control Bureau, set up in October 1988, is responsible for coordinating and implementing the National Policy on drug abuse. Drug laws are enforced through the joint efforts of the Police, Customs and the Enforcement Division of the Narcotics Control Bureau (Brunei 1993).


                           Treaty adherence

Brunei Darussalam is party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.


                          Primary Prevention

Preventive activities are organized by the Narcotic Control Bureau's Supervision Unit, in conjunction with the Department of Schools and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (eg. BASMIDA) (Brunei 1993). Drug education has been part of the national curricula in primary and secondary schools since 1989. Basic training in drug education is provided to teachers (U.N. 1992).

            In 1993, among the on-going preventive drug education programmes were lectures/open dialogues with schools and colleges throughout the country, parents, NGOs, government departments and the general public; drug exhibitions for students, youths, parents, teachers, community leaders and the general public; production of posters and pamphlets targeted at parents and teachers; organization of an annual nation-wide anti-drug campaign; sporting activities and art competitions.

            Mass urine screening or laboratory tests for drugs (opiates and benzodiazepines) are routinely conducted in secondary and tertiary schools.  Screening and testing will also occur when it is requested by the head master of a school (Brunei 1993). Drug testing is also compulsory before employment, at random during employment and during routine health checkups (U.N. 1992).

                 Treatment and Rehabilitation

Treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts is compulsory in Brunei Darussalam (Brunei 1993).

            Treatment and rehabilitation is provided by Brunei Darussalam's Rehabilitation Centre (Rumah Al-Islah) which is part of the Prisons Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The programme provided in the Al-Islah Centre includes medical treatment/detoxification, counselling, work therapy, vocational training and social reintegration through a series of civic and religious courses. Aftercare supervision is mandatory for persons released from the Al-Islah Rehabilitation Centre and is provided by a facility run by the Supervision Unit of the Narcotics Control Bureau. The supervision programme consists largely of counselling and urine testing but also provides, on a voluntary basis, rehabilitation for drug addicts who have not been convicted of drug related offences and to school children for whom conviction is not appropriate but who have abused drugs such as inhalants and/or psychotropic substances (Brunei 1993).

            In 1992, 58 drug addicts were registered in the Al-Islah Centre and 335 in the aftercare supervision facility. Treatment and rehabilitation may last up to two years. It is estimated that 0.15 per cent of the total drug abusers are registered (U.N. 1992).

            Most of the personnel working with drug addicts are probation officers or counsellors. Medical advice is sought from doctors only when needed. Only a minority of the personnel is provided with appropriate training (U.N. 1992).



      Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences

According to reports, the number of drug related arrests has been steadily increasing.  A total of 595 were reported in 1992 compared to 15 in 1988 and 191 in 1989. Most arrested persons are males, between 20 and 29 years old, although the proportion of those 19 years old and below has been increasing steadily since 1988. During 1989 and 1990, the majority of the arrested persons were employed, while since 1991, unemployed persons make up the majority of those arrested (HONLEA 1993).

            Of the total 595 persons arrested for drug related offences in 1992, 295 were convicted. Most convictions relate to consumption of illicit drugs, followed by possession. Between 1988 and July 1993, there has been 8 cases of convictions for trafficking offences (HONLEA 1993).


Most seizures of illicit drugs in Brunei Darussalam are of codeine (tablets and cough mixture), and psychotropic substances (mainly diazepam and triazolam). Other seized drugs are heroin and cannabis. In 1992, a total of 1,668 tablets and 116.915 litres of codeine were seized (226 tablets and 178.672 litres in 1991), 8,164 tablets of diazepam (7,405 in 1991), 218 tablets of triazolam (309 in 1991), 126 tablets of other types of psychotropic substances, 255.452 grams of herbal cannabis (105.38 grams in 1991) and 12.48 grams of heroin (19.37 grams in 1991) (HONLEA 1993).

                      Supply Source of Drugs

Illicit drugs are reported to enter Brunei Darussalam from abroad with "ant-traffickers" through both legal and illegal points of entry, mainly on the border with East Malaysia (Brunei 1993).


                       References and Notes

** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs based on Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years .... (not available by January 15th 1994).

U.N. 1992. Reply to the UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire for the year 1992.

Brunei 1993. Country Report of Brunei Darussalam to the Senior Official Meeting on Strengthening the Regional Network of National Focal Points on Drug Abuse Demand Reduction. Bangkok, Thailand, 1-4 February 1993.

HONLEA 1993. Country Report of Brunei Darussalam to the Eighteenth Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Asia and the Pacific. Seoul, Republic of Korea, 13-17 September 1993.