Taipei--The use of drugs containing synthetic cathinones, commonly known as bath salts, is becoming more prevalent in Taiwan and has led to 60 deaths so far this year, the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDAsaid Wednesday.
In 2000, cases related to abuse of synthetic cathinones such as mephedrone, methylone, ethylone and chloromethcathinone accounted for 0.4 percent of all confirmed drug cases handled by the police, the FDA said.
By 2016, however, the figure had increased 35.5 times to 14.2 percent, according to the latest statistics released by the FDA.
Synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as "bath salts," are central nervous system stimulants and mimic the effects of substances like amphetamines and cocaine.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths caused by synthetic cathinone abuse rose from 3 in 2012 to 36 in 2015, said Chien Hsi-wen (???), a senior technical specialist at the FDA, citing data from the Ministry of Justice's Institute of Forensic Medicine.
Chien said the drugs are sometimes packaged as coffee, candies, cookies or chocolate for sale on the drug market and there have been instances of accidental consumption.
Hsiao Kai-ping (???), a section chief at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, said abuse of synthetic cathinones can lead to agitation, hallucination and heart problems.
Sixty people in Taiwan have died so far this year as a result of synthetic cathinone abuse, Hsiao said, adding that men accounted for 70 percent of the deaths and the average age was 24.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel