TAIPEI - The National Police Agency (NPA) yesterday reported that it has seen a 16-fold increase in the taking of second-grade drugs in the last ten years and that 1,700 students were among the 41,200 people found consuming illegal drugs last year.
A female college student was found dead after taking illegal drugs last month, and in order to address the worrisome increase in students taking such drugs, the Legislature's Education and Culture Committee invited the Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the NPA to report on its measures in combating drug abuse among students and gang influence on campus.
Nightclubs are the usual locations for drug use and the drug trade, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu explained, and asked Tsai Chun-chang, deputy director-general of the NPA, to name the number of nightclubs in Taiwan.
Huang replied that there are 35 nightclubs, explaining that what constitutes a nightclub is defined and overseen by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Only 35 locations fit the definition set by the MOEA.
Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chen Bi-han said that according to NPA statistics from 2005 to 2013, 90 per cent of students caught doing drugs were doing so off school campuses. A three-to-five-fold increase of students were taking second-grade drugs, and a 16-fold increase were doing ketamine and other third-grade drugs.
Drug abuse is definitely a serious problem nationwide, and reported to be the number one reason for imprisonment, said Deputy Minister for Justice Wu Chen-huan, citing that imprisonment rates due to drug usage rose to 46.3 per cent by 2014.
Rising Drug Usage in Younger People
Chen reported that second-grade drug usage was becoming more and more prevalent among younger people. From 2010 to 2014, the number of teenagers caught doing drugs rose from 503 to 733, and from 3,036 to 3,928 among young adults.
From 2010 to 2014, third-grade drug-use statistics showed the numbers of teenage users increased 16.25 fold, rising from 36 to 621, while young adult numbers increased 13 fold, showing a rise from 84 to 1,19 people.
Education Minister Wu Se-hwa said that while the number of students doing drugs has stabilized in the last two years, the government must continue to manage and monitor drug sources.