Taiwan premier opposes decriminalization of drugs

Fines and prison sentences to be toughened up

Taiwan premier wants to toughen up war on drugs. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The government will not decriminalize drugs but on the contrary, toughen sanctions against drug dealers, Premier William Lai (賴清德) told lawmakers Tuesday.

Responding to concern from legislators that the government was about to change its policies, Lai said that according to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) statements, the current policy of trying to stop the import of illegal drugs and of persuading addicts to kick off would continue, with prospects for a more effective fight including tougher punishment.

Arrests would move upstream from dealers to manufacturers, while efforts at dissuasion would expand to include communities, schools and guards at apartment buildings, the Central News Agency reported.

The aim was to separate drug dealers from local communities so they had no opportunity to contaminate society, Lai reportedly said at the Legislative Yuan.

Amendments approved by the Cabinet last December saw sanctions against selling to minors and pregnant women increase by 50 percent, while fines and prison sentences for producing, selling and transporting drugs had also been raised, the CNA reported.