Illegal Drug Use Among Adolescents in Schools and Facilities: 3-Year Surveys in Taiwan

  • Shu-Lung Yang
  • Shuping TzengEmail author
  • Shen-Feng Tai
  • Yi-Chien Ku


This study investigated and compared the prevalence of illegal drug use among students and detainees in Taiwan. Stratified sampling of schools in the major cities of Taiwan, including New Taipei City, Taichung City, and Kaohsiung City, was adopted, and surveys were conducted from 2014 to 2017. The sample in the study consists of 2,190 cohort school students and 125 detained juveniles in the Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung Juvenile Detention Houses each year. The response rate is 87% on average. The results show that 1.5% of students and 65.8% of detained juveniles have ever used drugs. From 2014 to 2017, the survey indicates that over 60% of detained juveniles have ever possessed and used drugs. The findings reveal that ketamine and disguised drugs (e.g., cathinone mix with methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and ketamine) are the most popularly used drugs among Taiwanese adolescents. The findings may deserve further attention in tracking and monitoring the juvenile illicit drug use from a comprehensive national prevalence survey.


Drug-abuse monitoring Illegal drug use Student Juvenile detainee Self-report 



We thank Yuan-Hao Jheng and Shih-Jhih Lin for performing the data collection and preprocessing. The study is sponsored by Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST103-2410-H194-097-SS3), Taiwan. The PI is Shu-Lung Yang. The Co-PIs include Associate Professor Sheng-Feng Dai and Associate Professor Shu-Ping Tzeng.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department and Graduate Institute of CriminologyNational Chung Cheng UniversityChiayi CountyTaiwan
  2. 2.Crime Research Center, National Chung Cheng UniversityChiayi CountyTaiwan
  3. 3.Taiwan Society for Substance Abuse ResearchChiayi CountyTaiwan
  4. 4.Crime Prevention Research CenterMinistry of JusticeTaipeiTaiwan

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