TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Mayor of Taipei City, Ko Wen-je, speaking at a an event in Taipei's Xinyi District, reaffirmed his commitment to combating drug use in Taiwan.
The event on Dec. 24 was organized by the Taipei City Government and Rotary Clubs, to educate young people on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and to encourage healthy lifestyles and healthy life choices.
Mayor Ko said that drug use and drunk driving are still serious problems in Taiwan, and he also pledged that moving forward next year, he would make combating drug use, especially among young people, a top priority of his administration.
In his speech he also emphasized that drug use and drunk driving are not the sole responsibility of the police to deal with, but that to address the true source of the problems, it will take a society wide effort.
He encouraged the people of Taipei to do their part to educate and act as proper role models for the younger generations.
In recent years, the drug ketamine, known as “K,” has become a serious problem affecting Taiwanese society.
The mayor related his story of asking the Taipei police department why “K,” with such serious affects and such widespread use, was classed as a class three controlled substance, instead of class two, which would carry a much higher penalty.
The police officers responded to the mayor by telling him, if ketamine were a class two substance, then there would not be enough jail cells in the country to accommodate the high rate of convictions of offenders involved with the drug.
According to the mayor, as reported by CNA, over the past 10 years there have been about 340,000 criminal convictions in Taiwan. Of that number about five percent of convictions are related to drugs (three percent) or drunk driving (two percent).
Since being elected Mayor of Taipei, Ko Wen-je has taken a personal interest in overseeing the anti-drug initiatives of the city. He is especially concerned at the high rate of drug users that reportedly being using drugs as early as 12 to 15 years of age.
Ko says it is his personal responsibility to see that more is done to better educate young people about drug use, and to provide a more thorough apparatus for supporting communities in the fight against drugs.
Taipei Mayor Ko poses with young athletes at an Anti-drug rally Dec. 24 (Image: Taipei City Government)