Premier Chen Chien-jen said that Taiwan is eager to work with regional neighbors to treat drug addiction and improve social security around the world Jan. 19 in Taipei City.
The premier made the remarks at the 2024 Asia-Pacific Harm Reduction International Conference hosted by National Taiwan Normal University’s CTBC Center for Addiction Prevention and Policy Research.
Chen said that Taiwan has promoted harm reduction initiatives since his tenure as health minister from 2003 to 2005. In that capacity, Chen collaborated with the Ministry of Justice to implement an internationally inspired harm reduction plan as a way to control the rising spread of HIV through intravenous injection.
By providing clean needles, health counseling and referrals for treatment, HIV infection via intravenous drug use was contained, the premier said. He added that treatment for addiction allows people to return to society and rejoin their families.
Chen emphasized that illegal drugs are a national security concern, as demonstrated by President Tsai Ing-wen’s focus on anti-narcotics projects. He pointed out that these plans have been incorporated into laws, as well as other aspects of governance.
According to the Executive Yuan, international participants at the conference included experts from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. The premier expressed hopes that exchanges in forums such as these would lead to reductions in drug abuse problems in Taiwan and around the world. (POC-E)
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