Tue, Apr 14, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Committee seeks action over drugs threat

By Rachel Lin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The quantity of drugs confiscated in the nation over the past year hit a record high of 4,339.5kg, with ketamine from China accounting for 3,000kg, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said in a report to the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee yesterday.

The committee yesterday asked the MOJ, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Police Agency (NPA) to produce a report on their special project against drugs and gangs.

According to Deputy Minister of Justice Wu Chen-huan (吳陳鐶), drugs remain a serious problem, with more than 46.3 percent of the nation’s prisoners interned on drug-related offenses.

The figures increased gradually from 2010 to last year and peaked last year, Chen said, adding that his ministry was looking to nip the problem in the bud and eliminate the sources of illegal drugs.

NPA Deputy Director-General Tsai Chun-chang (蔡俊章) said that police arrested more than 41,000 people for drugs related crimes last year.

Schools reported 1,700 students for drug misuse last year, Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said, adding that while the figure was down from 2012, more than 92 percent of student drug-use occurred off campus, with 98 percent of drugs originating from dealers located outside campus bounds.

Ketamine was the illegal drug most used by students over the past year, Wu said.

Schools are stepping up anti-narcotics campaigns on campuses and intensifying off-campus patrols by adding another 10,000 rounds, Wu said, adding that the education ministry was focusing on high schools, junior-high schools, vocational high schools and elementary schools.

There is a fund of about NT$90 million (US$2.87 million) available for anti-drug activities, he added.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Shu-hui (陳淑慧) said that while the MOJ has seen an increase in the quantity of drugs recovered and the number of people abusing them, the government has yet to make any movement on rehabilitation or prevention programs.

KMT Legislator Chen Pi-han (陳碧涵) suggested that the education ministry emulate the US and ask celebrities to give talks to students on the dangers of drugs.

It could also invite celebrities who have successfully given up using drugs after a period of addiction, she said, adding that she thought such methods would work better than government ant- drug promotions.

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