Judicial Yuan, MOJ oppose reclassification of ketamine
The Judicial Yuan and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) opposes a proposal by lawmakers to reclassify ketamine as a second class narcotic drug, one class up from its current status.
Legislators led by Kuomintang's Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) made the motion due to the lack of penalty for ketamine abusers. The lawmakers pointed out that now only the traffickers of third class drugs are subjected to punishment while the users are free of legal consequents.
Wu expressed that the upgrade of the drug to second class can deter the use of the drug, which has recent gained popularity among teenager drug-abusers.
In response, Deputy Minister of Justice Wu Chen-huan (吳陳鐶), quoting the MOJ's review committee, suggested that heavy-handed punishments such as forced rehabilitation or imprisonment to ketamine, a “party drug” with lower addictive potential, could terminate the abusers' study or careers, resulting in higher social costs.
Judge Su Su-e (蘇素娥) from the Judicial Yuan also pointed out that ketamine's addictive potential, its level of abuse and its damage to the society should also be put under consideration in the reclassification of the drug.
The law currently carries no penal punishment or compulsory rehabilitation requirement for the use of third class drugs. Abusers of third or fourth class drugs are subjected to NT$10,000 to NT$50,000 fines and are required to attend anti-drug lectures.
On the other hand, the use of second class drugs, which include marijuana, amphetamine and LSD, etc., can be punishable by a maximum of 3-year jail term.
People who produces or traffic third class drugs can be sentenced to at least 5 years imprisonment. On the other hand, people who have in possession over 20 grams of third class drugs can be subjected to a maximum 3-year imprisonment.
April 29, 2010
The China Post