Almost half of the nearly 57,000 people in prison in Taiwan as of the end of July were there because of drug offenses, as the country saw a sharp increase in drug-related cases in the first seven months of 2016, according to a government report released Tuesday.
According to figures released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), 27,778 out of the 56,921 prisoners incarcerated in Taiwan at the end of July were serving time for drug convictions.
The total number of jailed drug offenders was up 2.9 percent from the same time a year earlier, resulting from a higher number of new drug convicts (6,250) entering prison in the first seven months of 2016 than in 2015 (5,567), the DGBAS said.
A total of 51,000 cases related to illegal drugs were reported from January to July, a 20 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, and 27,000 people were prosecuted for drug offenses, up 20.9 percent year-on-year, the DGBAS figures showed.
Just as more people were put in jail for drug cases, the number of people placed under observation or forced to get treatment increased 19.5 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, according to the DGBAS.
Drugs categorized as "second-degree," including marijuana and amphetamines, accounted for 55.9 percent of the total cases, 23.2 percent higher than a year earlier, the DGBAS data showed.
Source: Focus Taiwan