Record number of illegal drug possession cases in 2017

Illegal drug possession has been rising, says MOI.

Illegal drug possession has been rising, says MOI. (By Central News Agency)

Taipei (CNA) - There has been a steady rise in illegal drug possession cases in the past three years, according to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), which found in its latest report published Saturday a record 58,515 such cases in 2017.

The MOI's Department of Statistics data shows that since 2015, there has not only been a rise in the number of cases of illegal drug possession but also a rise in the annual amount of drugs seized by law enforcement authorities.

The 2017 figure of 58,515 cases, totaling 9,685 kilograms, marked a 6.6 percent increase in cases and more than double the amount in weight from the 2016 figure, according to the MOI.

The majority of the drugs, about 93 percent, were class 1 and 2 narcotics, including heroin, morphine and cocaine, and amphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana, respectively.

Amphetamine made up 69.1 percent of the illegal drugs seized last year, followed by heroin at 20.8 percent.

The number of suspects apprehended in these cases is also at an all-time high, with 62,644 in 2017.

Those aged 24 or older accounted for 84.7 percent, while the remaining 15.3 percent were aged between 12 and 23. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Kuan-lin Liu)