Taiwan Spring Scream to see drug crackdown, free condoms

PHOTO: Taiwan Spring Scream to see drug crackdown, free condoms

Police have stepped up a crackdown on drug dealers and users, while the southern Pingtung County Government is ready to distribute condoms for safe sex during Kenting's annual outdoor music festival.

The 2012 music and arts festival covering Spring Scream and Spring Wave concerts will take place April 4-8 in Kenting on the southern tip of Taiwan. Organizers expect around 200,000 people to show up for the series of performances by bands from around the world.

Officials at the Health Department of the Pingtung County Government said condoms will be available for concert goers free of charge.

Past records showed that wild parties, heavy drinking and illicit drugs have also triggered unbridled sexual activities among young people and caused a surge in cases of HIV, the disease that causes AIDS.

In 2011, young people aged between 15 and 24 infected by HIV in Taiwan surged 15.4 per cent from the previous year, with more than 90 per cent contracting the disease through sex.

The officials advised young people going to the Kenting concerts to exercise self-control and prepare to practice safe sex so that they will not be infected or harm others.

But the county government will also supply condoms to help people protect themselves, they said.

Senior police officers said major drug syndicates from around Taiwan and neighboring nations have prepared to exploit the concerts by selling illegal drugs.

Information gathered from pre-concert events so far showed that drug pushers have concocted new drugs targeted specifically at people visiting the Kenting concerts.

The drugs can take lives when consumed together with alcoholic drinks, the officers said, urging people visiting the concerts to martial determination to reject temptations from drug peddlers so that they may help protect their friends or other innocent people.

They also encouraged all people to Kenting to stay alert and report drug dealers to police as early as possible.

Organizers have successfully attracted more international bands and attendees every year, and are also aware of the negative aspects like drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. They urged all people in Taiwan, especially the young people who will visit Kenting in coming days, to join the forces to keep the concerts clean and healthy.