Illicit drug use increasingly a young people’s problem: FDA

Taipei-The use of illicit drugs in Taiwan is now most prevalent among people in their 20s and represents a growing worry because of the impact it could have on productivity, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official said Tuesday.

Tsay Wen-ing (???), the director of the FDA's Division of Controlled Drugs, said at an anti-drug campaign conference that people aged 24 to 29 have replaced those aged 30 to 39 as the age group with the highest prevalence of drug use, a trend that first started in 2015.

That trend is reflected in hospital data on reported incidences of illicit drug use between 2013 and 2016, which showed that people in their 20s were the most common (at 43.9 percent) first time users, followed by those 19 and under at 26.4 percent and those in their 30s at 21.1 percent.

The increasing prevalence of young people experimenting with drugs is a mounting concern for the government, especially since those 24 to 29 are the backbone of the economic productivity of the country, Tsay said.

Drug use affects not only one's health but also increases workplace accidents and poses a threat to productivity, she said.

According to Tsay, the most commonly abused drugs are Class B drugs, among which methamphetamine is the most widely consumed. Use of these Class B drugs, she said, can result in hallucinations that threaten users' lives.

The FDA has recently begun to mobilize resources to raise awareness of drug use and prevention, and as of last year, it had received the support of 80 businesses who have put together anti-drug campaigns in their respective companies, she said.

These efforts to combat drug use are a reaction to a 2014 survey conducted among nearly 20,000 Taiwanese citizens aged 12 to 64, which found 1.29 percent of respondents had used illicit drugs.

The division's projections from the surveys revealed that roughly 230,000 people in Taiwan have used illicit drugs in the past, with 55.7 percent of users claiming friends or colleagues as the sources of the drugs.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel