In face of the drug problem, the government re-considers the situation from ground zero. At the 3548th meeting on May 11, 2017, the Executive Yuan proposed the “New Generation Antidrug Strategy” that integrates five aspects: drug prevention, drug rejection, drug enforcement, drug rehabilitation, and legal amendment. Apart from drawing up the “Action Agenda on the ‘New Generation Antidrug Strategy’”, Executive Yuan approved the agenda on July 21 in the same year. Furthermore, Executive Yuan announced to double the investment in the following four aspects: drug prevention, drug rejection, drug enforcement, and drug rehabilitation to an amount of NT$10 billion in four years to resolve the drug problem. In this four-year agenda, i.e. 2017-2020, the antidrug focus has been shifted from the “quantity” to “people”, i.e. from the end to the source. In addition to the emphasis on inter-ministerial (inter-departmental) integration and the proposition of solid antidrug actions, this agenda has combined legal amendments, hoping to effectively reduce drug-related crimes and inhibit the growth of new drug users.
Taiwan High Prosecutors Office (THPO) of Ministry of Justice(MOJ) has established the regional joint defense office each in six regions to progressively integrate nationwide intelligence and local databases to assist (coordinate) the prosecutors ,police, investigators, the Coast Guard Administration, Customs Administration, and military police with transregional data integration and analysis and to investigate and track down drugs either across or in individual regions from time to time or periodically, in order to inhibit drugs at full stretch. Between 2016, 2017 and 2018, the six antidrug systems tracked down 6767.1kg, 6449.9kg, and 6,122.7kg of pure drugs, with an average of 33.2% higher than that of 2015 at 4,840.2kg. In 2018, 65 plants were found in compliance with the “Criteria for Determination of Drugs Manufacturing Plants”, ten more than that of 2017, with an increase of 41 plants from 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Furthermore, by revolutionizing the “community-based second-level dealers and retailers and their networks” track-down model, THPO planned the “Antidrug Operation for Living in Peace” by integrating the six antidrug systems to enable the prosecution and the police to strengthen antidrug actions in communities and track down drug manufacturers through three approaches: “collaboration”, “community-wide”, and “origin-focus”. The operation also covered border drug smuggling. Between February and June 2018, the six antidrug systems successfully arrested 1,913 manufacturers, traffickers, and dealers; seized or blocked about 9,700kg of all categories of narcotics; forfeited about NT$18 million of drug proceeds; and cracked down 34 drug packaging and manufacturing facilities in two antidrug operations. In the third antidrug operation in 2019, the six antidrug systems tracked down over 7,315kg of all categories of narcotics, forfeited over NT$109.54 million of drug proceeds, and cracked down 19 drug packaging and manufacturing facilities. It was the largest antidrug case ever tracked down in history.
In legal amendment, we have drafted the Amendment to the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, with focus on: (1) shortening the time of emerging drugs listed as narcotics; (2) increasing penalties for manufacturing, trafficking, and dealing drugs and forfeiting drug proceeds; (3) adding the “antidrug intervention program” and criminal penalties for repeat possession and use of category III and IV narcotics; and (4) improving the deferred prosecution system for users of category I and II narcotics to help them quit and rehabilitate from drugs and return to society with more intervention options. The draft of (1) and (2) were passed by Executive Yuan at the 3581st meeting on December 21, 2017 and referred to the Legislative Yuan (LY) by post for review, and LY already held the first review meeting on May 9, 2018. The draft of (3) and (4) has been reported to Executive Yuan by post and will be referred to LY for review after the Executive Yuan passage. The LY passage of the said draft will effectively help eliminate the abuse of emerging drugs; hit drug manufacture, trafficking, and dealing at the head; and help drug users to quit and rehabilitate from drugs and return to society.
In drug rehabilitation, methadone will effectively help addicts of category I narcotics (heroine) to reduce drug uses; and counseling and therapy can help users of category II narcotics (amphetamine) to reduce drug uses for them to regain normal work and life. We are raising the deferred prosecution rate and increasing the investment of medical resources in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) from 11.5% in 2016 to 17.6% in 2017 and 18.1% in 2018. It is expected that the rate will rise to 20% in 2020 to help drug users to quit and rehabilitate from drugs and return to society without leaving home, work, and original life with this type of community intervention.
As drugs are the source of all crimes, government departments will help stop drug abuses in all directions to reduce social hazards and demonstrate the government’s antidrug determination, in order to make Taiwan a healthy and friendly country.