Heroin in Malaysia and Singapore

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Aug 24, 2017
  • Author: Maimonah Sulaiman, Vanitha Kunalan, Angeline T. W. Yap, Wendy J. L. Lim, Joey Joo Yee Ng, Samuel Wei Xiong Loh, K. B. Chan
  • Journal: Drug Testing and Analysis


Clandestine heroin laboratories have been a feature of the Malaysian illicit drug scene since soon after the abuse of heroin emerged in 1972. The first few clandestine heroin laboratories which synthesised heroin via the acetylation of imported morphine were uncovered in 1973 and 1977. By the mid‐1980s, this type of laboratory was replaced by heroin‐cutting laboratories whereby imported high‐grade heroin was cut to street heroin. This was to meet the rising demand for the drug owing to the rapid escalation of the number of drug users. Over the years, the most significant change in the composition of the street heroin is the decrease in its purity from 30%–50% to 3%–5%. Caffeine has remained the major adulterant and chloroquine is detected in virtually all recent seizures.

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