Drug abuse has become one of the major public health issues in the world. In this study, we surveyed the laboratory analytical data of urine and non-urine cases collected through the Analytic Laboratory Drug Abuse Report System (ALDARS) and estimated the illicit drug use trends in Taiwan from 1999 to 2011. These samples were collected from suspects who were arrested for possessing and/or taking illicit drugs. Descriptive statistics were used to report the distribution rate and patterns of drug abuse. In addition, linear regression was applied to determine the trends of drug abuse. The results showed that methamphetamine was the most widely used illicit drug. The heroin abuse situation might have been under control, but that of ketamine may have become worse. Furthermore, an increasing trend was observed for the abuse of "designer drugs" since 2004. Phenylalkylamines was the main "designer drug". Chloroamphetamine (CA) was first notified in 2009. Subsequently, the drug has been experiencing an abuse situation, although it was considered to show no abuse potential. In summary, this study could further predict that ketamine and "designer drugs", such as phenylalkylamines and synthetic cannabinoids, might remain popular among drug users in Taiwan. The prevalent status of the emerging drugs in Taiwan and that in Western countries may be synchronized. © 2013, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC. All rights reserved.

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